Login, as one of the few tasks that users perform every time they interact with a platform, is a pivotal aspect of the user experience. Relatively new functionality—such as Face ID and Apple Keychain—has streamlined the process and makes typing and remembering usernames and passwords feel burdensome in comparison. While passwords were once thought to be an unavoidable pain point, users now expect a seamless login experience without sacrificing security. Better login options can even push users to mobile apps: A recent CI survey found that biometric login options was a top driver of mobile app usage for brokerage customers.

As a result, firms have continued to implement innovative login solutions—such as swipe patterns and security key logins—to make the process quicker, safer or even both. While there is overlap, fintech and incumbent firms across the bank, credit card and brokerage verticals have taken different approaches to improving the login experience.

A recent CI report dives into this topic, examining the login and authentication functionality provided by nine Fintech Monitor coverage set firms as well as three incumbents: Bank of America, Chase and Morgan Stanley.

While most firms support email or username and password login journeys, some fintechs only require the user’s phone number and a multi-factor authentication (MFA) code for logins. Additionally, five coverage set firms (42%)—all of which are fintechs—support third-party credential logins, such as logins using Apple, Facebook and Gmail credentials.

  • Cash App enables users to log in via phone number or email; once users input their credentials, the firm prompts an MFA code for authentication
  • eToro—while otherwise offering a more typical login experience—also allows users to log in using their Apple, Google or Facebook credentials
    • Like other third-party login experiences, selecting an alternative login option prompts a slideup allowing users to input their third-party credentials
  • Revolut enables users to log in via phone number and passcode; the firm also provides email, Google and Apple credential login options

Additionally, fintechs tended to offer more login options compared to incumbent firms. For unauthenticated devices, 58% of report coverage set firms—all fintechs—offer at least two credential options during login.

  • Most commonly, firms offer a primary login method with additional credential options in icon-aided quick links; Revolut, for instance, uses a phone number as the default credential but features email, Google and Apple options
  • eToro allows users to log in with different credentials—username or email—from the same field in addition to a quick link menu with three other options
  • Cash App enables logins via phone number by default but supplies a Use Email icon to change the entry field
  • Webull offers a tabbed design, allowing users to log in with their phone or email in addition to a quick link menu with Apple, Google and Facebook options

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For authenticated devices, quick logins are ubiquitous and can offer a smoother journey. All firms offer one quick login option: Face ID. However, nine firms (75%)—all fintechs—offer multiple quick login options, most commonly Face ID and PIN (58%).

  • Credit Karma is representative of the coverage set, with both PIN and Face ID options; the PIN screen includes a quick link icon to switch to Face ID
  • Webull offers a unique pattern swipe quick login option as well as the option to use Face ID instead
  • Passkeys, a recent addition to iOS, replace passwords and require users to authenticate with Face ID; Robinhood is the only firm in the report coverage set to offer passkey functionality

blankWhile login functionality is important, it is pivotal that firms allow users to adjust these settings post-login to help ensure users find a balance between a lack of account security and overbearing login security measures. As improved authentication features become more common, our fintech research team will continue to monitor how firms update their login functionality and management options to keep up with user’s changing expectations.

For more on innovation from Fintech firms, learn about our subscription research service. And for more on the latest trends across financial services and healthcare, check out CI’s Insights section.

Will Jack

Will Jack is an Analyst on CI's Fintech and Mobile Finance teams.