Banks should continually review and optimize their digital sign-up process, to ensure an innovative and intuitive journey for new customers.

Digital interactions have replaced face-to-face ones in the ‘new normal’. At the same time, new players in the world of finance have rapidly leveraged technological tools to transform the way that customers are onboarded to banking services.

Given the dynamic, digital onboarding – which is a process that signs up new users completely remotely – offers an experience that meets the customer’s needs, in an agile, easy-to-use and quick way.

Most banks already know the operational and economic advantages of automated digital processes compared to dealing with paperwork in branches. Now, creating a personalized digital experience that isn’t repetitive should be the focus.

Asking for certain information more than once during onboarding is a mistake that is often made. The general rule here is that if a customer shares some data during the onboarding process, they should not need to do it again.

Oftentimes, fear of banking regulations, especially Know Your Customer (KYC) ones, leads the bank to add extra requirements when registering a new customer. By doing so, they add repetitive questions, or even make people visit the physical branches to complete the process, thereby devaluing the digital experience.

Instead, banks must find the way to streamline customer onboarding while also ensuring regulatory compliance. To this end, technology providers now have a complete set of software options that offer an efficient and intuitive digital onboarding.

Until recently, onboarding processes could take as long as 16 weeks and banks could end up investing more than US$ 20,000 setting up a new customer, according to data from Deloitte. Today, process automation and new technologies are reducing that time, and costs have decreased by as much as 50%.

Making use of biometrics to identify users

As banks deepen their remote operations, biometric data from a user’s voice, face, iris or veins has become a highly valuable technological tool for the financial industry to onboard new clients.

Biometrics is a technology that can recognize an individual based on their unique physical or behavioral traits, and a set of data that is reliable and secure for identification.

In contrast to other verification tools, biometrics offers agility and less friction. The customer experience is excellent, and it delivers a personalized, dynamic and highly secure process.

Facial recognition is 99.8% accurate – a figure that is increasing year by year, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Moreover, according to the institution, as development continues, improvements in facial recognition software are accelerating.

Despite this, confidence in biometric data also requires new technologies to verify that the person that is being onboarded is ‘real’, mainly due to recent strategies from cyber attackers.

To offset this, tech providers have added liveness detection and anti-spoofing methods to their products. These tools, which are catching the industry’s attention, allow the biometrics system to detect whether a face is really there or not. This technology works with algorithms that can identify and evaluate characteristics and movement in an image, even recognizing birth marks, textures, borders, etc.

These tools are also becoming even more secure. And a new strategy involves incorporating a multimodal onboarding model, combining both facial and voice biometrics.

The use of both models is improving the performance of biometrics, while sharpening liveness detection. The application of two biometric checks makes spoofing during digital onboarding much more complicated for fraudsters.

Using data to segment the experience

Financial institutions serve several audiences. The use of personalized onboarding processes allows banks to offer distinctive value between one client and another.

In fact, the sophisticated use of data creates a huge number of possibilities to address different customer goals, needs and expectations. For example, institutions can offer a specialized onboarding for different business accounts.

Data can also segment an audience according to which source led them to sign up. This is easily achievable with the use of APIs which, as well as enriching user information, also make it possible to know where they come from. This way, a bank can take into account whether they come from platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, for example, so they can develop an onboarding strategy that allows consumers to receive the same coherent messages from the social media campaign.

Once the registration is complete, it is essential to focus on what the new user will see first: the welcome screen. The more relevant we can make it for each potential client, the more likely it is that they will continue to engage with the application. This dashboard could offer a preview of cards available to be activated (credit, debit, travel, shopping, etc.) with different calls to action. This is a more attractive and focused than a general ‘Start’ button. Each user would go into the financial product that they need, and along the most appropriate path to do so.

To sum up, the best digital onboarding results are obtained when you also work with a personalization strategy based on data, which will allow the onboarding experience to be more dynamic and to increase the conversion rate.

Andy Tran