Digital Customer Onboarding in Banking – 3 steps to get it done right

If you had to start a new bank account in the last couple of years, you might have realized that the process is quite different now. 

Back when I started my first bank account (I was 18 back then), the process was simple.

You’d go down to the bank, show some ID, and in a matter of minutes and some paper signing, you would have yourself a brand new bank account.

digital customer onboarding in banking
Walking out with your new card like a boss:

But would this become obsolete when we live in a day and age where we don’t go to the ATMs for basic transactions, let alone the bank?

We’ve been handling everything online, and thus there was a need for online onboarding as well.

But is customer onboarding in banking really just reserved for the initial registration? 

So today, we are talking about:

  • Customer onboarding in banking as we know it,
  • Customer onboarding in banking in-app,
  • Why in-app onboarding in banking is important,
  • Key features of a good onboarding in banking with examples, and
  • How you can easily create your own digital banking onboarding process

Let’s dive right in.

What Is Customer Onboarding in Banking?

Customer onboarding or digital client onboarding in banking is a process of customer registration and identity verification, especially necessary in the banking sector. The generally online experience is a verification process that takes place between potential customers and financial institution representatives, e.g., compliance officers to do manual compliance checks, digital identity checks, credit checks, and other checks to meet anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) requirements.

AML and KYC are the most important terms when discussing customer onboarding in banking and regulatory compliance.

Institutions are required to comply with AML and KYC regulations, which dictate a customer onboarding experience that monitors suspicious transactions in the long term and due diligence plans at the start of a bank onboarding.

While the main reason why customer onboarding in banking takes place is to meet regulatory requirements with all kinds of digital onboarding technology like biometric technology and cognitive technologies, there are also other reasons why a digital customer onboarding process is vital.

A digital onboarding process not only makes it easier for banking customers to access the entire onboarding process online, but it also makes it more effective for the use of digital customer onboarding software, which in turn helps store data and make it more accessible.

But does it end with this initial high-touch onboarding experience?

What is included and excluded in the digital onboarding process? What does the entire process of an onboarding journey look like?

Let’s Redefine: In-app Onboarding in Banking

Customer onboarding in banking, or in-app onboarding in banking, as we will redefine now, is a different take on the term onboarding that deals with the digital onboarding strategy of a bank rather than its traditional onboarding requirements. In-app onboarding in banking is, thus, the education and training of a bank’s digital services, such as mobile banking apps or any other mobile applications or digital applications.

So, this concept of onboarding in banking can also refer to the part of a company’s customer onboarding strategy that deals with digital product adoption and in-app customer experience. 

Why is customer onboarding so important for banks?

Customer onboarding, as we know it and as we just redefined it, is quite an important process for financial services, the prior due to safety and account security, the latter for an enhanced customer journey.

We are well aware of how important compliance requirements and person identification checks are. They make out an entire relationship between financial institutions and customers.

Moreover, these bank customer onboarding workflows are so crucial to perform according to requirements that they are almost always inflexible.

But when it comes to in-app onboarding, the tables turn.

Interestingly enough, in 2022, banking applications available on mobile devices tend to be way more modern and even state-of-the-art, while the websites stay pretty old-fashioned.

While this is not always a great quality for customer service, it gives companies more space to create better mobile experiences.

👉 60% of users prefer using banking mobile apps over websites. 97% of millennials and 89% of all users use a mobile banking app.

And that is just reason number one why in-app onboarding for banking matters.

👉 Another reason why in-app onboarding is important is that it decreases onboarding costs that are already high enough, thanks to client onboarding in banking that includes customer identity checks and other processes not necessarily linked to how users can use access their accounts and use the mobile app.

👉 Lastly, in-app onboarding patterns in banking can easily be used to get customers on mobile apps to discover promotional campaigns in-app without the need to send annoying emails or make calls.

So, that is only some of the reasons why customer onboarding in banking matters.

Now let’s take a look at the key features and best practices of good onboarding in banking.

Key Features of a Good Onboarding in Banking

A seamless experience is vital when it comes to online banking apps.

This is because, for the longest time, banks had the reputation of poor customer service and bad customer experience; we can say this digital transformation is the way to break the cycle.

So, to show you how banks enhance their digital experience through in-app customer onboarding, I have gathered a few examples of in-app onboarding in banking from my own banking apps.

Let’s take a look.

First Time Sign-In Modals

When signing in to a mobile banking app for the first time, a good practice is to give a hint of what your users will be able to do through a tiny multimedia tour/modal.

Papara, one of my favorite banking mobile apps, does this perfectly with a progress bar of 5-steps and beautiful, concise copy.

papara digital customer onboarding for banking mobile apps

Slide-out Modals

İşCep is another cool mobile banking app that uses first-time sign-up modals, but what it does differently is that for users who would like to learn more, there is a slideout modal that users can choose to read or move on with the modal.

There is also a skip intro button as well as a button to change the language, which might be overlooked by other apps but is extremely important since you don’t want the first impressions of a user of your app to be in a language they don’t speak.

iscep digital customer onboarding in banking mobile app

Tooltips

Tooltips are a vital element of any onboarding process, be it bank customer onboarding or any other onboarding solution. A favorite best practice of mine is when tooltips are accompanied by hotspots or highlights with a dimmed background.

Iscep does a great job using tooltips to lead users where they need to be and introduce features in a relaxed, no-hassle way.

iscep mobile app customer onboarding
iscep mobile app tooltip

Pop-Up Modals

And lastly, pop-up modals are in common use and are definitely among our best practices list.

Though often found annoying by users, when used correctly, pop-up modals and entire-screen modals can contribute to a positive experience, as is in Akbank Mobile’s case.

akbank mobile banking app digital customer onboarding

There are, of course, many more onboarding strategies and customer onboarding UX patterns that can be used in mobile banking apps as well as any other digital banking experience like websites and mobile browsers.

But that does not give you the answer to how YOU can create a digital banking onboarding process.

Let’s take a look at that.

Creating a Digital Banking Onboarding Process in 3 Steps

A digital banking process can be anything from a simple tooltip to a well-established product walkthrough with user checklists and resource centers.

At the end of the day, it all depends on the needs of your digital banking platform and how much of the onboarding process you would like to guide the users through.

If you are using a no-code onboarding solution like UserGuiding, any of these scenarios is possible – and fast, easy, and affordable.

I will be using Western Union’s website to show you just how easy it is.

Let’s create an interactive onboarding guide in three steps.

Step 1: Create the Guide in UserGuiding Panel

First things first, let’s go to UserGuiding Panel, where the magic happens.

In the Guide section, we will be creating a new guide, give it a name and add the link to the website we want to add the guide.

userguiding digital customer onboarding tool

After clicking confirm, UserGuiding will take us to the link where we will be editing our onboarding flow on-site and hands-on.

Step 2: Add the Onboarding UX Patterns

Once we are on the site, we will be able to add modals, tooltips, and input fields to the website onboarding.

I will start with a welcome modal:

userguiding customer onboarding solution

I can add a custom logo of Western Union and customize the modal to have specific colors and fonts too. Here I went with a small amount of customization to keep it quick.

I will then add a couple more steps to show the users around the landing page, like interactive tooltips. 

And in the end, it will look a little like this:

digital customer onboarding banking userguiding

With the same principle, I can easily add a hotspot:

userguiding digital banking user onboarding hotspot ux pattern

Or a user onboarding checklist:

userguiding onboarding checklist banking user onboarding

Step 3: Configure and Publish

Once the editing and the overall design for the onboarding experience for your banking platform are complete, it is time to configure everything you’ve done so far and publish.

Let’s go back to UserGuiding Panel.

In the guides section, we’ll find our guide and go to settings.

userguiding panel settings for banking digital onboarding

After picking the appropriate settings for page targeting, audience segmentation, trigger, scheduling, and redirection, and making sure the guide is active, all there is left is to save the settings.

Now we are ready to publish changes.

Impressed?

👉 Give the free trial a try 👈

To Wrap Up…

Customer onboarding in banking with all the KYC and AML requirements is quite crucial.

However, in-app customer onboarding processes can be as important as identity checks and due diligence assessments.

Of course, it is up to you to employ the top-of-the-game user onboarding solutions and adopt the best practices of in-app onboarding elements.

My humble advice is to give digital onboarding UX solutions a go.

Good luck!


Frequently Asked Questions


What is KYC customer onboarding?

KYC or Know Your Customer is a customer onboarding process used by financial service providers to check their customers’ identities and reduce the risk of fraudulent actions.


What is KYC and AML process?

KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) are requirements for financial service providers to check users’ identities and ensure due diligence conditions. 


Which tool is used for customer onboarding in banking?

Customer onboarding in banking can require a different set of tools to manage accounts and reach out to customers online, however, if it is an in-app customer onboarding tool you are looking for, a good pick can be UserGuiding.


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Serra Alban

When I realized I won’t be the next Tarantino I found myself as a creative content writer at UserGuiding. I’ve been obsessed with UX design, customer success, and digital adoption ever since. If you could stare at good UX for hours like me don’t hesitate to hit me up on LinkedIn. I might end up dropping too much movie trivia but hey, old habits die hard.