Categories: Digital-First Banking

Wells Fargo: First Impressions Are Key When It Comes To Digital Onboarding

Digital banking has become the new normal as social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders have drastically curbed financial institutions’ (FIs') abilities to conduct in-branch services.

Online account openings increased by more than 200 percent in April, while all mobile banking traffic rose by 85 percent. This shift to digital banking is also unlikely to slow once the pandemic recedes, as only 40 percent of bank customers expect to return to bank branches regularly after the crisis ends.

Many of these consumers are exploring digital banking for the first time, however, and are frustrated by customer onboarding pain points. Time-consuming authentication methods, redundant application forms and sluggish processes can all drive away potential customers.

In the June Digital-First Banking Tracker®, PYMNTS explores the latest in the world of digital-first banking, including the challenges involved in customer onboarding, surges in digital banking resulting from COVID-19 and various contactless banking solutions that aim to serve consumers during the pandemic.

Developments From Around the Digital-First Banking World

One FI experiencing significant digital banking growth is Citibank, which recently noted that its customers’ use of online options skyrocketed in the first quarter of 2020. The COVID-19 outbreak was not the sole driver of this growth, it said, but is part of a larger trend of increased digital banking use over the past several years. Citibank’s mobile app saw a 24 percent increase in use between March 2019 and March 2020, for example, and the bank has responded by bringing its CitiDirect BE Digital Onboarding platform to 42 countries and five languages.

Banks and financial developers are exploring a variety of contactless solutions to respond to the pandemic. Banking solution provider FTSI recently released contactless self-service lockers that allow customers to pick up payment cards, cashier’s checks and other important documents without interacting with bank staff. Employees deposit the items in the lockers, then send access codes to the intended customers, who can then visit the lockers and retrieve items. The units have audit trails to confirm when items have been retrieved and signal that the lockers are ready to use again.

FIs must also ensure their in-branch operations are functioning better than ever once the pandemic recedes, and Alliance Bank Malaysia recently introduced a tablet-based software system to this end. The solution allows customers to open savings accounts, activate payment cards or sign up for online banking without interacting with staff. The FI said the system reduced account opening times by 70 percent and improved employees’ availability by 75 percent.

For more on these stories and other digital-first banking headlines, download this month’s Tracker.

Why Simplified Onboarding Is Key for First-Time Digital Banking Users

The pandemic has forced bank customers to turn to digital services in record numbers, with many leveraging such offerings for the first time. These new users are facing significant frictions during onboarding, however, and banks risk seeing these customers abandon the sign-up process if they cannot smooth these pain points. In this month’s Feature Story, PYMNTS spoke with Ben Soccorsy, head of digital payments at Wells Fargo, about how banks can harness data to determine the most widespread customer onboarding frustrations and work to address them.

Deep Dive: How Banks Can Digitize KYC Checks to Accelerate Customer Onboarding

There are a multitude of pain points when it comes to banks’ digital onboarding processes, ranging from tedious wait times to excessive costs for FIs. These obstacles are largely the result of know your customer (KYC) regulations, which banks must perform to ensure that customers are who they say they are and are not involved in illicit financial activities. This month’s Deep Dive explores how FIs are examining solutions like biometrics and document identity scans to accelerate and streamline their onboarding processes.

About the Tracker

The Digital-First Banking Tracker®, done in collaboration with NCR Corporation, is your go-to monthly resource for updates on trends and changes in digital-first banking.

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Banks, corporates and even regulators now recognize the imperative to modernize — not just digitize —the infrastructures and workflows that move money and data between businesses domestically and cross-border.

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