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Seamless Onboarding of Customers to Drive Digital Transformation.

Blog Post06/02/2020
image showing Identity Management and Fraud Prevention

A seamless end-to-end journey provides faster, easier and more secure access to finance for consumers



Now more than ever, in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, financial services providers need to focus on being able to offer lending solutions and onboarding customers digitally in a seamless, easy and secure manner.

Digital transformation is increasingly becoming a key strategic initiative for financial institutions across both digital and traditional channels. As the COVID-19 crisis evolves and social distancing creates new challenges, we also foresee that it will create an opportunity for businesses to automate and become more efficient. This evolution was already in-flight across the financial services industry with digitalization; however the crisis has simply heightened the need to act and act fast!

As smartphone adoption continues to accelerate across the globe, consumers increasingly expect seamless real-time fulfillment from financial institutions in the same manner they have grown accustomed to when transacting with leading e-commerce players. Any organization with a digital channel needs to focus on high-value customer journeys, such as onboarding the customer for the first time. You spend significant time and resources attracting consumers to your websites and apps. Those early moments of engagement are crucial and must be positive in order to create a great customer experience – a necessary step to ensure you don’t lose a customer before you ever had them.

Meanwhile, financial institutions facing growing fraud threats in digital channels are wary of introducing additional checks which have historically added complexity to credit applications and eroded consumer experience. And with the need for consumers to social distance and for lenders to still provide consumers credit options in response to COVID-19, this threat will only increase as more and more consumers apply for credit solutions online. At the same time, most of offerings in the market currently do not provide a holistic, fully integrated solution (beyond connectivity to a decisioning platform) nor do they optimize for both consumer experience and risk assessment.

What is ‘Seamless Onboarding’?

Seamless Onboarding goes beyond providing quick-and-easy digital ways for consumers to apply for a product or service. It is not just a business process but rather a business philosophy: in the financial services industry, lenders rethink their entire onboarding process (and beyond) to transform digital account opening so that it is easy and personalized enough to meet individual needs and robust enough to offer protection against fraud.

A great onboarding experience has a direct impact on customer satisfaction over the long term, with implications for retention, referrals and revenue. This is why seamless onboarding benefits so many areas of the business: it can increase conversions, strengthen customer loyalty, reduce fraud, and drive operational efficiencies for lenders in a competitive industry.

We have identified some key seamless onboarding best practices that are driving change so businesses can stay ahead of the game.

1. Providing a “friction-right” customer experience to maximize conversions and loyalty

Extensive research recently conducted by TransUnion1 throughout the globe revealed cumbersome onboarding processes across banks and other lenders for credit card and personal loan products, which indicate considerable opportunity for streamlining and simplification.

TransUnion “Mystery Shopping” research highlights the cumbersome and lengthy process required for credit cards and personal loans.

  • Asking the consumer to manually fill information that can be extracted by documents provided or through internal and external systems
  • Asking the consumer to print or bring documents to the branch for verification
  • Once credit is approved, either receiving the physical credit card or the loan disbursement takes 3-5 days for fulfillment before the consumer is able to make use of the credit
  • Not personalizing and making the experience relevant through pre-qualifying the consumer and showing only relevant offers


You will not be able to and should not eliminate all friction in the process. TransUnion believes that lenders should provide a friction-right experience: an onboarding process that doesn’t frustrate customers but still has enough checkpoints in place that the consumer can visibly see and take comfort that their lender has adequate security measures in place. An experience where consumers can complete their application in one sitting- anytime, anywhere.

2. Implementing a solution suite that effectively enables the end-to-end seamless onboarding journey

Businesses that develop and implement comprehensive and robust onboarding processes to improve customer journeys will be tomorrow’s winners. In order to achieve this, they must ensure they are adopting the best innovative and advanced technologies to offer a new level of consumer and business benefits.

Rather than asking the customer to manually enter their personal information, consider the introduction of time- and effort-reducing technology including digital document authentication and facial recognition. This allows you to validate ID documents online and once validated to extract identity information from it that allows you to then pre-fill the application.

Once ID is established the next step is effective ID Verification for KYC/AML purposes and to detect and prevent fraud. Digital transactions carry an increased risk of fraud that businesses need to address through a multi-layered fraud strategy including assessing risk of digital signals like device, email, phone and behavior. Lenders benefit significantly from a more accurate fraud risk assessment and reduced false positives.

After ID management and fraud risk and prevention steps are taken, the final steps in a seamless onboarding experience include using decisioning and workflow to assess the consumer’s ability to pay based on actual or estimated income and credit history, automating underwriting evaluation and executing and customizing offers and terms and presenting them to the consumer. A true seamless journey also includes credit fulfillment through disbursement or the actual issuance of a digital “instacard.”

3. Ensuring you have access to the most comprehensive set of offline and online data assets

Providing a truly seamless onboarding process require a comprehensive set of the most up to date and relevant identity data sourced from credible data sources like credit agencies, government agencies, telcos, utility providers and such for personal identities. Given increased digital use, verifying identity against a broad set of personal and digital data (device, email, phone, behavior) ultimately provides greater identity confidence.

4. Driving efficiencies in integration and support

Banks and lenders can no longer sustain the increased volume of credit card and loan applications with manual or disjointed onboarding processes. Countries like India are reporting 12 million new credit accounts each month with each manual verification costing an estimated USD2.51 – a small amount at face value but one that quickly adds up in volume. By accelerating the digital transformation of customers from application through fulfillment in their new account opening process, lenders can eliminate these costs resulting in significant improvement to their bottom-line.

Many FIs are aware that the scope of successfully moving the application process to a digital one is broad but are still mostly in the early stages of that journey. In large part, this is because the market landscape is such that new companies are popping up every day trying to provide a niche solution in the overall onboarding flow. It therefore becomes too cumbersome, time-consuming, and often too risky, to engage directly with all of these partners to stitch together a full end-to-end digital onboarding experience.

And from an operational cost standpoint, consider an orchestration hub that provides a single partner/single platform value proposition and helps achieve 25-30% increase in operational efficiencies. With this single access point to best-of-breed data and technology, you can streamline the time, resources and cost it takes to individually prospect, evaluate, risk-assess and contract with various point solution providers (i.e. document authentication, email and phone risk, etc.).


Remember: Digital Transformation doesn’t just mean paperless

Transitioning to seamless onboarding goes beyond streamlining individual manual processes and digitizing them. Now more than ever- especially as the COVID-19 epidemic pushes more processes and transactions online – transitioning to seamless onboarding requires looking at each step in your onboarding process, linking them together with the best data and the best technologies, to provide a holistic end-to-end process for your customers and for your business. Embracing the philosophies and best practices of seamless onboarding and successfully executing them plays a key role in the success of your firm’s digital transformation.


TransUnion Seamless Onboarding for your digital transformation journey
TransUnion Seamless Onboarding encompasses identity verification, fraud prevention, credit/risk decisioning, workflow and orchestration to create a truly end-to-end onboarding solution. This allows lenders to deliver a “friction-right” onboarding experience, while increasing conversions and loyalty, reducing fraud, and driving operational efficiencies.

TransUnion Africa will be launching Seamless Onboarding in South Africa later this year. For more information about other fraud and verification solutions such as IDvision, please visit our webpage.

1TransUnion “mystery shopping” onboarding study, 2019. Statistics cover credit card and personal loan applications, averaged across channels and lenders studied.

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