Digital Account Opening in the UK Part I - Are Banks Responding to the Digital Challenge?

January 2, 2018 by John Devlin

Earlier this year I wanted to test the claims of many financial service providers that they are digital entities.  In the past 10 years, a number of sectors have seen rapid evolution and disruption in the business model, the leading brands, and service providers although there has yet to be any seismic shift in the UK banking sector.

There have been great advances in terms of the solutions that can aid banks and consumers alike.

Much is based on mobile and it is notable that the incumbent and neo banks are all touting their digital successes and mobile advances. 

Much is centred on traditional banking replacing web-access and paper-based communication and information with their mobile apps – which have seen great success in terms of customer touchpoints and use. 

Though has it really progressed to transcend the traditional services and mindset to become digital-first operations throughout?

I wanted to know:

  • Are the banks doing a great job of repelling the challengers and neo banks that are now launching commercially?
  • Have they made the leap to digital and changed their operational models to improve activation and access, removing the barriers that cause consumers to drop-out rather than complete?
  • Are the challengers living up to their claims to be user-centric, technology-driven operations?

Closing Bank Branches Brings Digital Even More to the Fore

Bank’s are closing more and more branches in an effort to reduce costs and streamline their operations; which is fine, as long as these points of service – including communication, handling of transactions (physical and electronic) and the offering of services – are replaced by an alternative means.  This is in part due to the changing environment, people do more online and are able to use the Internet and mobile apps for much of their day to day banking requirements.  However, there are times when they want a bit more or wish to change their accounts or open a new account.

Expecting customers to travel an extra 10, 20 or 30 miles because a branch has been closed is not realistic.  Streamlining operations without providing adequate replacement (digital or physical) will simply drive customers to switch more frequently to their more local service provider or they will migrate to the most accomplished digital operations.

P.A.ID Strategies published its whitepaper on the assessment of UK banks in November 2017, which has been exclusively licensed by Mitek. The whitepaper can be accessed using this link: