By Jeanne Capachin

At the upcoming Digital Insight Innovation Conference, I’ll be presenting new research on the future of account opening. One aspect that I labored over in this research was projecting how many consumers will choose to open accounts outside of a branch.

jeanneAt first, I had some doubts about the usefulness of that option. But as I started hearing tales from early adopters, my doubts were removed, and my forecast became more and more aggressive.

I know that many financial institutions don’t offer online or mobile account opening yet, but a lot of consumers are already comfortable with opening accounts online, and the growth rates are really through the roof. One local credit union told me that more new deposit accounts are being opened online than at all of the branches put together. I’ve become convinced that online and mobile account opening are going to be important features for attracting digital consumers and moving more interactions from in-person to digital.

In this move to more and more digital processes, some aspects are harder to digitize. With account opening, the two problems that financial institutions need to solve are how to capture signature specimens and how to develop a customer identification program that can be fully digital.

For capturing signatures, there are a couple of options. Some simply have their customers mail in a signature card. Others capture an initial signature from a check. For identity verification, some financial institutions are researching a new feature that uses a camera or scanner to capture an image of a driver’s license or some other credential.

I’d like to hear what you’re thinking about as you consider online and mobile account opening. And if you’re already offering it, what has been your experience so far? Do you have any thoughts for others who are planning to offer online and mobile account opening? How are you managing the move from in-person to digital processes?