Improve Members’ Online Experience

Studies show about 50% of attempts to open accounts online fail.

May 14, 2012

Almost overlooked in all the fanfare given mobile banking recently has been the consistent growth of online banking. Remember online banking? It was really trendy about 10 years ago.

Although mobile banking has grabbed the limelight recently, online banking has quietly logged impressive growth. The percentage of households using online banking increased from 72.5% in January 2010 to 79% in July 2011, according to Fiserv’s 2011 Consumer Trends Survey.

Recent research into online account opening offers further evidence that the online channel is quickly becoming the channel of choice for most consumers.

The percentage of accounts opened online increased significantly from 2010 to 2011, according to the Fiserv research conducted late last year by The Marketing Workshop.

In 2011, half of survey respondents used the online channel to open money market accounts (up from 16% in 2010), 42% used it to apply for credit cards (up from 31% in 2010), 32% obtained certificates of deposit (up from 16% the year before), and 26% applied for first mortgages (up from 12% in 2010).

Consumers’ use of online bill pay is also on the rise. The percentage of households paying bills directly at company websites increased from 48% in 2010 to 53.4% in July 2011. And the number of households paying bills at financial institution websites increased from 36.4% to 40.5% during that same period.

It’s clear that online banking, account opening, and bill pay are becoming—if they’re not already—mainstream delivery channels. What’s not so clear is how well credit unions are creating a flawless online experience for members.

This issue becomes even more important after Bank Transfer Day and related events sent a wave of new members, primarily younger consumers, to credit unions.

It’s not good news that only 53% of consumers who tried to open accounts online at banks and credit unions were successful, according to a 2011 report from Javelin Strategy and Research.

The other half gave up, needed to visit a branch office, couldn’t open the desired accounts, or had other problems.

These failures are measured as an “abandonment rate,” and credit unions’ abandonment rate is higher than that of larger banks.

Almost overlooked in all the fanfare given mobile banking recently has been the consistent growth of online banking. Remember online banking? It was really trendy about 10 years ago.

Although mobile banking has grabbed the limelight recently, online banking has quietly logged impressive growth. The percentage of households using online banking increased from 72.5% in January 2010 to 79% in July 2011, according to Fiserv’s 2011 Consumer Trends Survey.

Recent research into online account opening offers further evidence that the online channel is quickly becoming the channel of choice for most consumers.

The percentage of accounts opened online increased significantly from 2010 to 2011, according to the Fiserv research conducted late last year by The Marketing Workshop.

In 2011, half of survey respondents used the online channel to open money market accounts (up from 16% in 2010), 42% used it to apply for credit cards (up from 31% in 2010), 32% obtained certificates of deposit (up from 16% the year before), and 26% applied for first mortgages (up from 12% in 2010).

Consumers’ use of online bill pay is also on the rise. The percentage of households paying bills directly at company websites increased from 48% in 2010 to 53.4% in July 2011. And the number of households paying bills at financial institution websites increased from 36.4% to 40.5% during that same period.

It’s clear that online banking, account opening, and bill pay are becoming—if they’re not already—mainstream delivery channels. What’s not so clear is how well credit unions are creating a flawless online experience for members.

This issue becomes even more important after Bank Transfer Day and related events sent a wave of new members, primarily younger consumers, to credit unions.

It’s not good news that only 53% of consumers who tried to open accounts online at banks and credit unions were successful, according to a 2011 report from Javelin Strategy and Research.

The other half gave up, needed to visit a branch office, couldn’t open the desired accounts, or had other problems.

These failures are measured as an “abandonment rate,” and credit unions’ abandonment rate is higher than that of larger banks.

Our feature, “Best practices in CU websites,” p. 34, explains how some credit unions’ award-winning websites are making abandonment rates a thing of the past.