Welcome to our very first Battle of the Challengers!

In this post we are going to be covering one of the most buzz-worthy topics in the Fintech world: Online Account Opening.

All data, analysis and flowcharts presented in this post are taken from FinTech Insights

Before COVID19, a lot of Banks had expressed their interest in having this major Functionality included in their Digital Banking. Post or amidst this pandemic, it has become a necessity and an essential part of their product roadmap. 

But where should one look for inspiration?

Well Challenger Banks have tackled this feature early one. It is actually one of their primary concerns, due to their lack of physical presence

As said in our Introductory post, we have collected a pool or prime examples when it comes to Challengers.

To find out how user-friendly each of our contestants’ account opening and e-KYC are, we ran them through our market intelligence platform Fintech Insights and scored them using our Perfect 1000 system

Here’s what each challenger bank’s process looks like and a rundown of where it excels and where it could do better.


Note: Monese uses geolocation to pinpoint your address. This is quicker and easier than typing it yourself and makes mistakes less likely

Note: One of the most common and important steps in the Online Account Opening process. Monese chooses to make the users take photos of their ID documents, which is easy enough but can become a very frustrating step if not done efficiently. We will elaborate why in N26. This also means there is some waiting involved, in which the system processes and parses these documents. For Monese it was fairly quick.

Note: This confirms that the user is actually the person whose ID documents they’ve uploaded. Users record a short video in which they perform a number of head gestures and speak a phrase. Monese have implemented this feature natively, but processing does take time and is a friction point

Note: On the plus side, the option to use a virtual card means you can start using your account straight away, without having to wait for a card to arrive in the mail. The downside is that the user will still be in the process of opening the account here. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it does add a step that isn’t strictly necessary at this stage.

Note: This is a major friction point, because the user has to leave the Monzo app and take several steps — open their email app, wait for the verification email to arrive, and click on that to verify. And that’s before they’ve even started opening the account

Note: In an era where typing a lot of words can be a turn-off, the least we can expect is smart and automatic solutions for autocompleting information.

Note: This is a major friction point, because users normally won’t have this information handy and are likely to get discouraged. KYC is a legal requirement, but that doesn’t mean the process has to be complicated. 

On the bright side, this step means that, once KYC is done, it’s done for good and the user won’t get pestered with notifications to upload their tax information

Note: One question…again? Why make the user provide his address information just to reconfirm it a few minutes after?

Note: So some Banks, most commonly Challengers choose to involve part of the Debit Card management in the Online Account Opening process. Monzo as well.

Pros: All in one approach. 

Cons: You are asking your user to choose a PIN of his Debit Card while not having opened his account yet. Why add more information to the user and make for a more complex process? There is a time and a place for that, and it is called Card Management.

Note: Seriously, it’s that easy. You don’t even have to sign up. You can play around with the interface and explore features without having to commit to opening a full bank account. KYC also varies depending on which product you want, which means it’s not a cumbersome, one-size-fits-all approach

Innovation at its finest! 

Note: Small details like these make Banking …fun.

Note: N26 has implemented a very handy dainty search, that finds your address in seconds, without making you type the entire thing. Neat.

Note: The entire process of providing the tax information cost 8 steps for the user.

Note: The entire process, from start to finish requires on average about 5 tappings on a button from the user, if he agrees on both the required and optional terms and conditions.

Whew. We got tired just typing that.

Note: This helps Starling personalise your account, it isn’t strictly necessary. Users could add this information later if they wish. 


So who has the smoothest account-opening and e-KYC process? 

And whose requires the most work?

According to Fintech Insights, with a score of 139 on our Perfect 1000 system, the winner is bunq.

This is the final ranking:

Best Online Account opening process goes to….bunq!

It is so fast to create a bunq account. And it is also very fast to become their client. bunq requires very few steps, the absolute most important ones, and allows for a very seamless and one way process. bunq is bound to be one of the most innovative players in the Market, and always strives to make their digital bank as user friendly, resolving problems and listening very closely to their customer feedback.

They also have a very fun Twitter & Youtube account, where they update their users of any new features. 

Most importantly they make the planet greener, so GO bunq!

N26 scored -1724 and came in last. Oof!

Unfortunately, where there is a first place, there is a last. In this case the last place is awarded to N26. The process is long, tiring, and we find that the user can get discouraged and leave in many steps along the way. There are so many steps, and so much information that the user has to interact with. So far, N26 requires the most steps in the Online Account Opening process (141 to be exact). 

You can view and examine for yourself all the required steps for bunq and N26 respectively below.

bunq Account Opening & KYC

N26 Account Opening & KYC

The first battle’s over, but there’s more to go

Round 1 may have gone to bunq, but that doesn’t mean they’ll win — or do well — next time. Anything could still happen.

Who will win round 2?

You’ll have to tune in next month to find out.

In the meantime, why not check how user-friendly your account opening and e-KYC process is?

You can uncover all those details that will delight your customers at every login, by booking a free demo of FinTech Insights.


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