Delivering an exceptional online banking experience has long been a key area of focus for financial institutions, but today it has become even more important. According to the 2020 World Banking Report, customers are moving to digital channels faster than they have in the past. Online banking use has risen by 23% and mobile banking use is up by 30%.
BCG predicts these changes are likely to be permanent, accelerating the migration to digital channels by three to four years over pre-crisis trends. What’s more, now more than half of consumers say they prefer internet banking or banking mobile apps — an 8% increase compared to pre-COVID responses.
But what makes the best online banking experience? Leading banks and credit unions separate themselves from the pack by focusing on five key areas.
Today’s must-haves for achieving the best online banking experience
Convenient, 24/7 access and immediate decisioning
According to BAI, convenience is the most important factor driving consumers to online banking, ahead of lower fees and better interest rates. The best online banking experiences enable consumers to access services at a time and a place that is convenient to them. This extends beyond basic transactional services such as checking balances, paying bills, and transferring money.
Leading financial institutions enable their customers to open new accounts and even apply for loans outside of regular banking operating hours. They also offer real-time decisioning — providing customers with pre-approvals and rates for their unsecured or secured personal loans or lines of credit in a single session.
A true omnichannel service
While over four-fifths of time online is now spent on mobile devices, research from Deloitte has revealed that 94% of mobile banking customers also use online banking channels on other devices at least once a month. This highlights the importance of providing customers with a choice of channels and allowing them to switch from one to another without disrupting or fragmenting their journey.
Ease of use
Leading banks focus on a user experience design that guides consumers through key processes. That’s because consumers expect to intuitively navigate a website or application and input their information quickly. They also expect to be able to save their progress. However, just 22% of banks offer a save-and-resume function in their accounts opening process, suggesting there’s a lot of work to be done here.
Consumers want to feel reassured when making important financial decisions. The best online banking experiences put users at ease and answer questions as they come up. This doesn’t necessarily mean human support; in fact, more than 80% of customers attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live representative. With this in mind, financial institutions can consider offering in-line support or tips for customers as well as clear error message explanations and status updates to increase the intelligibility of interactions.
An ideal application experience
According to recent Signicat research, online application abandonment for banking products is now higher than ever, reaching as high as 70% in some countries. This is often because the process is difficult or it takes too long. It’s important to recognize that the digital application is a crucial part of the larger customer experience journey and a huge opportunity for lenders to impress borrowers and build trust from the start. An ideal application experience combines ease of use and efficiency with personalization and consistency.
Make the right first impression with an ideal application experience
The best online banking experience begins with the right first impression — and at Blend, we believe this starts with an effective application experience. By improving this process, financial institutions set the tone for the wide array of interactions that define and comprise the overall customer experience.
Blend’s white-labeled Digital Lending Platform allows financial institutions to provide a consistently branded experience, not only between their website and the application but also across lending products. It also facilitates intelligent decisioning, enabling lenders to pre-approve customers in a single session.
With an omnichannel approach, Blend allows borrowers to start and complete applications across channels and devices. Through single sign-on (SSO) authentication, Blend application fields can be pre-filled with financial information previously provided by customers.
Blend makes ease-of-use a priority, too. Featuring a user-centered approach, Blend’s application guides consumers through an experience designed to feel intuitive.
And then there’s Blend’s conversational interface, which uses easy-to-understand language and includes in-line FAQ answers, giving bankers more time to provide personalized support to their customers’ needs.
All this is wrapped up in a mobile-friendly package that aims to deliver a standout experience, time after time.
The benefits don’t end here
And it’s not just customers that get a great experience — financial institutions benefit too. Blend customers have seen application completions increase by up to three times — and they report higher rates of consumer satisfaction too. In fact, borrowers score Blend at an NPS of 59, versus the financial service industry’s average of 34.