Tuesday Tips – Six Ways Brokerages Can Improve Their Online Transaction History

by on Feb 28, 2012

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 andConsulting Services research, which cover the banking, brokerage, credit card, asset management and insurance industries.
 
This week’s recommendations come from our e-Monitor report titled Transaction History: An Online Trail of Account History and focus on ways brokerages can improve the online transaction histories they offer clients:

Provide a detailed page for each transaction– The majority of firms display all transaction information on a single page within sortable data columns. Though informative, these pages lack important details related to specific transactions. Providing a separate page for individual transactions offers a way to display this detailed information. In addition, a separate page allows firms to provide the information in an organized format.
 
Offer browsing filters and search functions– Transaction details contain a variety of data points and information that are often difficult to sort through. Providing pre-defined filters allows clients to easily view specific types of transactions. Search functions offer an additional layer to browse for specific account activities.
 
Display account balances figures– The total transaction amount is an important data point that provides a basic account debit or credit. An overall account balance figure, however, provides some context for that figure. Taken together, clients are offered a more complete view of transaction history and current account balance. Providing a running net cash balance alongside transactions and providing a separate balances table would be one way to model the information.
 
Provide an extended historical archive– Generally, since investment accounts are situated for the long-term, it is important to provide an extensive transaction archive. Transaction history that is limited to a year provides only a cursory view of account activity. Providing a more extensive view allows clients to easily view and search for transactions without the hassle of reading through past account statements. Providing an archive that spans clients’ full account history is ideal.
 
Offer download and export capabilities– Transporting transaction data offline is important for particularly important during tax reporting and more generally, financial recordkeeping financial. As such, firms should allow its clients to download transaction history to a tax or financial-related software. Two programs – Microsoft Money and Intuit’s Quicken – are popular among e-Monitor firms and used by nine firms.
 
Supplement charts and graphs with transaction data– Much of transaction history encompasses numerical data that is difficult to interpret when displayed in columns. Displaying the information in a visual format, such as a chart or graph, allows clients to grasp where transactions are allocated (e.g., fees, trades, withdrawals).
 
For more information on our Monitor or Consulting services, contact Bob Burlin at 212-832-2002 x-115 or rburlin@corporateinsight.com or use our online contact form.