How to Deliver Standout Account Opening Experiences

Building out an efficient account opening process can be a challenge for financial institutions that want to provide great experiences for both consumers and businesses — but it can also be an opportunity.

An excellent account opening experience offers convenience at every step. It allows customers to perform critical account opening functions from anywhere, at any time, while also boosting efficiency for your institution’s internal team. Banks can deliver standout account opening experiences using an omnichannel approach that allows applicants to open accounts through multiple channels, suiting the needs of any consumer or business.

To understand why omnichannel is key for effective, flexible account opening, it helps to examine the challenges that individual consumers and businesses currently face when opening accounts.

  • Legacy systems. Using old and outdated technology can result in repetitive, overcomplicated processes that force applicants to redo steps or supply large amounts of disparate information. Still, nearly half (49%) of financial institution respondents to a Onespan survey say they rely on legacy systems with manual processes.
  • Identity verification and document collection. Proper identification is necessary to open new accounts, but validating a customer’s identity through digital channels can be especially tricky and time-consuming if an institution relies on legacy methods. Some banks are already taking steps to move away from these outdated techniques and are seeing less customer abandonment as a result.
  • Lack of guidance. Oftentimes, customers don’t receive the information they need to complete the bank account opening process. This is a significant pain point in business account openings.
  • Long processes. Many customers give up on opening an account simply because it takes too long. The Digital Banking Report found that when online and mobile account opening take more than 10 minutes and 5 minutes respectively, as many as 40% of applicants are at risk of abandoning the process.

Business owners and consumers share a strong, sweeping demand for better account opening experiences. More than half of businesses (57%) and consumers (58%) consider online account opening a “must-have” for any bank they use, according to the Banking Impact Report. Omnichannel allows banks to meet this demand today, and easily adjust to the needs of future customers.

The Difference Between Omnichannel, Multichannel Account Opening

Many banks support multiple channels for account opening: customers can open bank accounts through their preferred channel, such as online or in-branch, and through multiple digital devices, including their phones, tablets and laptops. But these multichannel account opening capabilities don’t allow customers to switch between channels once they’ve started the account opening process without restarting the process from the beginning.

Omnichannel account opening enables applicants to move freely between all channels during the account opening process. Customers and business owners can change their preferred channel mid-process without losing their progress, repeating steps or interrupting their sign-up experience. Omnichannel fosters a faster, smoother, and more enjoyable experience by allowing applicants to move across channels during the account opening process.

This also makes it easier for financial institutions to expand their reach beyond their immediate community; customers can elect to have a purely digital experience and don’t need to live near a branch to be able to use a bank.

Today, consumers and businesses crave seamless banking experiences that align with modern definitions of convenience. Research from Capgemini reveals that 76% of consumers in 2021 already expect an omnichannel banking experience.

Consumers will always prefer options that are convenient and efficient. With omnichannel, banks can deliver on this expectation, no matter where their future customers are or how they want to be met.