June 2017 – New Client Applications

In today’s growing digital banking marketplace, prospective clients must be able to open new accounts without visiting branches or financial centers. In this report, we analyze new client banking account applications, focusing on the ease and clarity of the application process and on the account options that each firm provides before application submission. Currently, 18 of the 19 Bank Monitor coverage group firms allow new clients to apply for new bank accounts online. This is our first full report on new client applications since 2015.

The best new client applications provide a straightforward, comprehensive application that includes customization options. Clear online applications include detailed status meters and progress bars, showing the user’s actual progress through each application step. For moments of confusion, the best firms include thorough and varied customer servicing options, such as live chat, which is provided by just seven firms (39%). One firm—Fifth Third Bank—offers the option to have the firm call the user for customized help. Comprehensive applications also include customization options, allowing users to add additional accounts, enroll in overdraft protection, select a debit or ATM card, sign up for online banking and enroll in paperless statements. Like online applications themselves, account funding options should be as modern as the current digital marketplace; firms should therefore allow users to fund new accounts using mobile check deposit, currently provided by only four firms (22%). While most online applications require the same information, and are relatively easy to use, these customization and help features set some firms apart.