Every Tuesday, Corporate Insight releases recommendations to help financial services firms improve a key aspect of the online user experience. Recommendations are taken directly from our Monitor Reports and Consulting Services research, which cover the banking, brokerage, credit card, asset management and insurance industries.
1. Include complete balance information within account summary – All banks should offer three pieces of balance information on their private site homepages, offering the Available and Total Balance for each account a client has open, along with aggregated Total Deposits amounts. Only six firms currently do this, with PNC offering a nice Account Summary table that includes all of the requisite information.
2. Provide quicklinks to high-traffic tools while avoiding clutter – The best firms offer quicklinks to major sections of the private site (e.g., Alerts, Bill Pay, Statements, Transfers, etc.), without clogging up the design of the private site homepage. This allows users to quickly jump right to major private site features, without making the homepage difficult to read or comprehend. Fifth Third is one bank that packs a variety of quicklinks into their homepage using account-specific Account Options dropdowns, while Chase provides an excellent example of providing links in the right-hand column without wrecking the visual flow of the public site. Both offer great examples for firms looking to add new navigation to the homepage in a thoughtful manner.
3. Supply balance forecasting – Currently available only from E*TRADE, balance forecasting enables clients to see what their account balance will be seven days in the future, if all currently scheduled Transfers and Online Bill Payments are executed. An invaluable tool for any account holder, this is a data point that all banks should look into offering; with the amount of information contained on the private site, Project Balance details would seem to be in reach for any and all Bank Monitor firms to add to the private site homepage.
4. Integrate client-based information to the homepage – All banks offer similar account-related Balance details on the private site homepage. Firms should augment this with information about the account holder themselves to the page, offering confirmation that the user is looking at the right account and giving them the chance to spot-check important details. Many firms offer a set of client-based information on the homepage, with banks like ING leading the way. ING Direct not only offers the Date and Time of a client’s most recent login, they also show the user’s current email address, offer a new message indicator, and include the client’s name on the private site homepage – a great mix of information.
5. Offer summaries of scheduled funds movements – A few banks augment the account information provided on their private site homepage with tables that offer summaries of upcoming Transfers and scheduled Bill Pay transactions. Citizens Bank and Fifth Third in particular do a nice job of offering this look at upcoming transactions to account holders, helping ensure that users are well aware of not only the current state of their account, but what is scheduled to happen with the account (and its balances) in the near future.