UK banks failing online account applicants - research report

Source: Global Reviews

Research by Global Reviews published today reveals leading UK banks are missing out on new customers that want to open savings accounts via their website because some of the leading banks only offer online applications to existing customers.

Even banks that do offer online applications to new customers are not in line with what customers expect or want. The industry average was only half of a 100% 'perfect' customer experience.

The survey of 1,500 savings account holders found that the majority of respondents had used the online and branch channels to open their most recent deposit account. Higher income earners (classified as earning more than £40,000 a year) were 30% more likely to open an account online rather than in a branch (59% online compared to 29% in a branch) compared to lower income earners (42% online compared to 50% in a branch). As financial institutions are seeking to attract higher income earners, the online means of opening savings accounts is of primary importance.

Surprisingly, a 450-criteria review of a dozen leading financial institutions as part of the research revealed that not all major banks offer new customers the ability to apply for savings accounts via their websites. Only existing customers at Lloyds TSB, Barclays and Nationwide can apply for savings accounts online. This is likely to deter prospective customers, especially those with higher incomes who prefer the online channel.

For the banks that do offer online applications for savings accounts, only Halifax and Natwest provided introductory information that scored over 60%. The industry average was low because during the application process, the majority of banks benchmarked failed to tell customers how long the process will take and what materials they should have on hand. After the application form was submitted, banks failed to inform customers how long it would be before the account would be set up.

Adam Goodvach, Director of Global Reviews, said: "Online application forms for savings accounts are an example of where there is an opening for industry leadership among UK banks. A greater alignment of customer needs with what institutions offer is the challenge lying before them, and the financial rewwwards of such an alignment are waiting for the institutions prepared to take up the challenge."

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