Record number of European consumers abandon financial applications during onboarding

  • 68% of consumers have abandoned a financial application, up from 63% in 2020
  • This highlights the “expectation paradox” where, despite improvements in the onboarding process, consumer expectations and abandonment rates are increasing
  • 92% of consumers are concerned about how financial service providers use their data

Trondheim, Norway, 30th March 2022: Signicat, the Trusted Digital Identity™ company, today revealed new research that shows 68% of consumers in Europe have abandoned financial applications in the past year. The results are the worst for financial service providers since the Battle to Onboard report debuted in 2016, which has seen the abandonment rate steadily increase over the last five years.

The fifth edition of Signicat’s regular report, The Battle to Onboard: The Growing Power of Consumer Demands, is based on a survey of 7600 consumers across Europe including Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the UK, Estonia and Ukraine. Consumers were asked to report their experiences and expectations of financial services onboarding in the last year.

Financial service providers must comply with Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) rules which requires them to gain access to and check a consumer’s personal information. Unfortunately, all too often identity checking processes are not designed for digital, do not consider local market nuances and create a poor user experience for the consumer.

Key findings include:

  • Ease of application: Nearly a third (30%) of respondents said that they found the application process “complicated”.
  • Speed of abandonment: The average time that a consumer would typically abandon an online application for a financial product was 18 minutes and 53 seconds. This is seven minutes quicker than the 26 minutes on average it took for a consumer to abandon in 2020.
  • Reasons to abandon: The time to apply (21%), the amount of personal information required (21%) and changing their mind (21%) are the main reasons applications are abandoned.
  • Importance of onboarding methods: 38% of respondents report abandoning an application for a financial product because they did not have the right identity credentials, such as a passport or digital identity.

Interestingly, the research found an “expectation paradox” when comparing markets. Those countries with an easier and faster onboarding experience—thanks to digital identity schemes like BankID —did not necessarily have happier consumers that are less likely to abandon an application. In fact, consumers in “more mature” digital identity markets were more demanding, less likely to tolerate a bad experience and in some cases more likely to abandon an application than in “less mature” markets.

The report also found that:

  • 92% of consumers are concerned about how financial service providers are using and taking care of their data, thanks in part to a lack of understanding of why this data is needed.
  • Assumptions about different countries are dangerous—new identity technologies are not universally popular in every country, though digital identity schemes are the closest to this ideal.
  • COVID is still affecting access to services. 42% of respondents found they were unable to access essential financial services as they were either inaccessible or unavailable digitally—up very slightly from 2020.

“A record number of consumers have abandoned financial service applications in the last year which is a wake-up call to the industry. The solution however isn’t simple. While digital identity makes onboarding quicker, this better experience makes for higher expectations from consumers—and increased abandonment if these are not met,” said Asger Hattel, CEO, Signicat. “The key to creating a better onboarding experience is an in-depth knowledge of the market, an understanding of consumer behaviour and the ability to offer multiple onboarding methods.”

The report is available at Battle to Onboard 2022: The Growing Power of Consumer Demands.


Lisa Baker is the Editor of International Business News. As the Owner of Need to See IT Publishing, Lisa is an experienced business and technology journalist and publisher.

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