Credit Cards: 8 Onboarding Features you can Adopt, with Examples from Leading Providers

The Importance of a Great Digital Onboarding Journey

There are many factors that a consumer will consider when shopping for a new credit card, including credit score requirements, rewards, account benefits and many more, making it crucial to digitally:

  • Help consumers find the right product for them
  • Immediately highlight your product & brand’s USPs
  • Make the onboarding journey as frictionless as possible

I’ve listed my 8 onboarding highlights pulled directly from our latest onboarding report, part of our Credit Cards Digital Tracker, which recorded and audited the complete onboarding processes of the following brands:

American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citicards, Discover, Goldman Sachs, Navy Federal Credit Union, and U.S. Bank.

Note: All the cards referenced within this blog are mid-tier cards, meaning customers must have a good, but not excellent score to be approved.

1. Customer Reviews and Ratings Along Side Your Products

How credit card issuers display their card products on public sites is a core section of our
onboarding report.

Bank of America shows customer reviews and ratings alongside the images of their card products, immediately and visually providing the consumer with a sense of trust and favorability of the product.

The ratings can also be used as a key indicator to benchmark between different products, which provides a dynamic for the consumer that’s not seen on all card issuers sites.

Onboarding Credit Cards

2. Recommend Products Using Pre-Application

Our onboarding report showed that many providers are using card comparisons tools and product decision trees, however not many providers are aligning their cards against pre-approved status.

Discover provides a pre-application for customers within their site to show customers which cards they’re eligible for ahead of deciding on which card is best for them.

Having a consumer pre-approved before applying for a product will boost your rate of successful applications and the likeliness that they will stay within the onboarding journey having already completed part of the process.

Onboarding Credit Card

3. Eligibility Criteria Clearly Displayed

Many providers are still not stating eligibility criteria as clearly as possible before the start of an application. As applying for a credit card affects the customer’s credit score, credit card issuers should strive to be as transparent as possible.

The pre-application information and guidance section examines how much support banks provide customers about the application process. U.S. Bank lists out eligibility criteria and which documents are required to complete the application.

Knowing which information is needed before the start of application makes the process more seamless.

Onboarding Credit Cards

4. Save Function to Return to an Application Later

Banks are starting to incorporate onboarding process features, such as the option to save the application, dynamic entry fields, and application review screens.

USAA allows customers to edit their applications before submitting. Providing an
application review screen is useful as it helps customers ensure everything is correct before they submit their applications. USAA goes one step further by allowing customers to edit information on the review screen.

Another key feature is the ability to save and return to an application at a later point. Customers may not have all the time or information they might need to complete an application in one stretch; returning to an application is a great convenience to customers.

Onboarding Credit Card

5. Support Through the Application Process

Offering customers support is key to not only streamline the application process, but to build a strong brand impression.

Applications forms include more on-screen help resources. Bank of America includes tooltips as a form of on-screen help. Tooltips offer definitions for difficult or unclear application questions.

Some banks are now offering live chat services directly on-screen, creating ease by not taking the customer outside the application form.

Onboarding Credit Card

6. Verify Identity Securely

Based on our onboarding report, many credit card issuers do not require much identity verification; social security numbers are used to conduct credit checks.

Credit card issuers are asking customers to verify their identity in convenient, but secure ways. Chase allows existing customers to pre-fill their application forms after accessing the application from the secure site or entering their login credentials.

Application pre-fill is a common method of completing applications for existing customers. It creates a very easy application process.

7. Immediate Card Access

Some providers allow customers to set-up their recently approved credit cards immediately by offering features like instant card numbers and online enrollment.

American Express displays the card number right away so customers can start using their
card for online purchases. Many customers can benefit by instantly being able to use their card numbers virtually.

After the card approval, noteworthy providers are including links for online enrollment. Users should be able to set-up online banking as soon as the card is approved.

Onboarding Credit Card

8. Follow-up With Welcome Emails

Credit card issuers send out card dispatch information and welcome emails, building a strong relationship with their new customers by providing transparency a full scope of information.

Capital One sends a well-designed welcome email, highlighting specific card details in colored sections. Additionally emails also include a timeframe for when the physical debit card will be delivered.

Onboarding Credit Card

Want More Onboarding Insights?

The Credit Cards Digital Tracker

Get visibility of best practice in application processes, digital platforms, security, digital marketing, online support, calculator tools, loyalty rewards and more.

The Credit Cards Digital Tracker, along with all our Digital Trackers, can be accessed via the Digital Banking Hub.

About the Author, Gina DeCorla

Gina examines digital banking trends to help national banks, regional banks, credit unions and fintechs adopt the most successful online strategies in the industry.

“Banks are often unaware they are driving customers away with outdated interfaces and limited digital features. My goal is to help them seize the momentum of the digital revolution—creating the best customer experience while contributing to a fully, financially aware society.”

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