The fact that 88.5 million Americans attempted to open an account online or with a mobile device in the past 12 months underscores how far digital account opening has come in a few short years. Nonetheless, its potential remains largely untapped, especially as consumers place growing importance on mobile capabilities. Javelin’s analysis of the state of online and mobile account opening in contrast to traditional branch applications highlights that 1) the growing popularity of digital applications is forcing face-to-face bankers to redefine “personal banking” using technology, and 2) mobile upgrades are needed urgently. This comprehensive report:

  • Sizes the current market for online and mobile applications.
  • Identifies consumer segments such as Moneyhawks™ who are primary targets today.
  • Measures the success rate of online checking account applications.
  • Analyzes perceptions by several consumer segments about the perceived advantages of applying for checking accounts online, on a mobile device and at a branch.
  • Illustrates the broad perception gap that credit unions face when matching up against banks.
  • Evaluates and highlights lessons from the account opening processes at BB&T and Golden 1 Credit Union.
  • Examines why applicants abandon applications.
  • Provides a checklist of capabilities that should dictate the design of the customer experience and the FI’s account opening operations.
  • Introduces ways that mobile technology can augment the customer experience and security of account opening in multiple channels.

Primary Questions

  • How many consumers attempt to open various types of financial accounts online and on mobile devices?
  • How likely are applicants to succeed at opening a checking account online?
  • How do success rates compare among high-value consumer segments?
  • What benefits do consumers value most when deciding whether to apply at a branch, online, or on a mobile device?
  • How can FIs improve the customer experience and boost the return on investment (ROI) from digital account opening?

Companies Mentioned

Andera Harland Financial Solutions Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union
BB&T ING Direct Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
Bank of America JPMorgan Chase Scient Federal Credit Union
Citibank Jumio U.S. Bank
Dexter Credit Union MeridianLink Wells Fargo
Golden 1 Credit Union Mitek


  • This report is based on a combination of consumer data, a secret-shopper analysis of Golden 1 Credit Union's online account opening process, and in-depth interviews of executives at traditional and digital financial institutions, account opening, and mobile vendors.
  • Consumer data is based on online survey of 5,641 U.S. adults in March 2013