May 2015: Existing Client Applications

This report addresses the online account applications offered to clients that already have an existing banking relationship. We include information about how existing clients can access shortened applications, what personal information is pre-filled and what account options are available within the application. This is our first look at the topic since 2012. Specifically, this report considers:

  • Accessibility
  • Application features
  • Account options

Existing clients should be able to access account applications directly from the private site with a direct link to the application itself rather than a product page. Including a step within the application where clients can add any account from the bank’s offerings – rather than directing clients from the private site to account product pages – effectively expedites the account selection process. Five firms link directly to their applications from links on the private site.

Firms should provide a separate application for existing clients that forgoes the entry of personal information and does not require users to verify their identity with an SSN or driver’s license. Using information that banks already have on record, rather than requiring users to enter it, expedites the account opening process. Six firms offer expedited applications.

While it is important to accelerate account applications to an extent, firms should not refrain from allowing clients to add multiple products and account add-ons, such as debit cards and paperless statements. Three firms facilitate account customization with the following options: debit cards, paperless statements, checkbooks and overdraft coverage.

Additional key findings include:

  • 13 banks provide a link to open accounts via the private site.
  • Eight firms link directly to their online application from the private site.
  • Three firms allow clients to edit all pre-filled fields within the existing client application.