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Tips for Onboarding Fintech App Users Effectively

Shivkumar M 20+ yrs shaping technology Product & GTM strategy. Fintech, healthcare & retail industry expertise. Leads product launches, adoption & GTM as Director, Product Marketing.
Tips for Onboarding Fintech App Users Effectively

Your Fintech app is up and running, your app store listing optimized, and your automated marketing drips in place. What’s next?
Apart from the 200 other things on your to-do list as a mobile app marketer, you now have the responsibility to ensure your customer onboarding process leads to happier, more engaged app users.
Part and parcel of this is looking at how efficient your current onboarding is in moving your users through the app user lifecycle — from prospects to paying customers.

Why Should Fintech Apps Care About User Onboarding?

Actually, every app should care about onboarding. With the typical mobile app losing 77% of its DAUs within the first 3 days after installation, and 24% of all apps being used only once, it’s necessary to prove your app is valuable to a customer immediately.
Because only relying on acquisition to fuel your app’s growth is dooming it to failure. Especially since it costs 25x more to acquire a new user than it does to retain an existing one.01
Another thing about onboarding: user experience is critical, particularly in banking and finance.
According to a recent Deloitte study, 38% of customers state that UX is the most important criterion when choosing a digital financial service. Additionally, 26% say that easy enrollment and login is the most important factor.02

Industry stats for mobile payment apps
The bad news is, according to our 2019 Mobile Payment Apps Benchmark Report, it takes 12 days to get new users from launch to actually engaging with the app, and then only 35% of new users do this. Better onboarding could be the catalyst that quickens the transition from new user to transacting user.
How you do this boils down to creating a customer experience that makes life easier while keeping user data secure.

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Fintech Onboarding Best Practices

Establish Trust ASAP

The first and most important onboarding tip is also the most logical: establish trust with your user as soon as possible.
Fintech companies operate under a ton of regulations and must collect information to comply with existing legal processes such as KYC (Know Your Customer) and anti-money laundering laws — all to ensure that their financial services are not being misused by malicious actors.
But before users even get to register and use your services, they need to know that your app — in fact, your brand — is trustworthy. Here are three ways to prove your app can be trusted:

Fintech app onboarding tips - screenshots of Zelle app in action
Zelle allows users to transfer money between US banks. They very clearly state how they use your data and address security in their onboarding process (after a product tour that lasts 4 screens). But their efforts create a feeling of trust in their brand.

A. Let Them Use it First

One way to do this is to allow users to use your app initially, without having to register for an account. You can choose to gate some of the deeper functionalities behind a sign up form, e.g., “To make or receive a payment, sign up for an account.” In short, prove the value of your app first before asking them to register.

B. Add Safety Precautions

Another way is to make users feel more secure is with safety precautions that prove you take their data seriously. For example: automatically log users out after a set amount of time, even if they have the app open. Or send notifications to confirm that a purchase was done via the app.
While these precautions might be intrusive or annoying in a gaming or streaming media app, they make perfect sense in a Fintech app as they assure users that all transactions will show up and they’ll receive important alerts.

C. Explain Why You Need Personal Information

As part of the registration process, every new user inevitably has to share personal information with your app. Build up the trust even more by explaining what you’ll do with the info and how you intend to use it.
Realize that if a user has just heard about your brand and has just downloaded your app, they’re not particularly inclined to give out their personal information. Explain how your app will use this info and how their app experience will greatly improve with it, and they’ll be more open to sharing their details.

Fintech app onboarding tips - screenshots of Square's Cash App in action
Square’s Cash App, a payment app for friends, has an idiot-proof form that needs only a phone or email — although they don’t explain why they need the info. In a later screen, it asks for your bank, or bitcoin account before giving users the default screen and not much else.

Build Idiot-Proof Forms

As part of the registration process, your new users will inevitably have to face a blank form. And we all know that people hate forms — primarily because they block people from getting things done, but also because, in the case of Fintech, they’re often incredibly tedious.
So first off, keep forms as simple as possible. If you have too many things to fill out, you’ll lose them before they register.
Secondly, build forms that won’t break when users input their information in a way that doesn’t match your system. For example: an incorrectly constructed password, or names and addresses requiring foreign language characters or accents. If there are errors, for goodness’ sake, don’t have the users input everything again from scratch. If you do, you’ll likely lose them to a competitor who offers a better form filling experience.

Continue Onboarding Periodically

Remember that onboarding is not necessarily a one-time thing. The more complex your app’s functionality, and the more you add features, the more you should be educating users on what they can do. That ongoing education is still onboarding. It’s more than just the product tour or feature tour that happens at first launch.

Make Onboarding Seamless Across Channels

Your app’s onboarding process must be seamless for the user even if it happens across several channels. Typically, this means starting in the app and continuing on email or with a combination of push and in-app notifications. Perhaps even providing support via a knowledge base or wiki.
Pay attention to all these moving parts and ensure that your messaging and brand are consistent throughout. There’s nothing more off-putting than reading a push or in-app notification that doesn’t “sound” like the rest of the app. Or seeing graphics in an email that don’t match the aesthetics of the UI.

Fintech app onboarding tips - screenshots of Xero app in action
Xero, a small business accounting app, takes its approachable and friendly tone from the initial product tour and continues it in the email confirmation and beyond. Great way to stay consistent across channels.

Humanize Your Brand

It’s easy to list down all the different ways your Fintech app can send or receive payments. It’s harder to explain how these features enrich your user’s life. But this is part of building a brand that your customers can connect with.
From the images you use in your feature tour to the wording you use in your onboarding emails, you need to work to make your app more relatable — to humanize your brand so you can build relationships with users more effectively.

A Question of Trust

In the end, onboarding for Fintech isn’t that much different from onboarding apps in other verticals. However, the special emphasis on creating a sense of trust and security with the user is critical. After all, users are trusting you with data that could impact their finances and livelihoods. And it is up to you, the mobile marketer, to show them that they can put their faith in your brand.

Download Our Benchmark Report

Want to find out how your Fintech app compares to industry standards? We put together a benchmark report with insights that can help improve not just your onboarding, but also your user retention.

Industry Benchmarks for Mobile Payment Apps

Industry Benchmarks for Mobile Payment Apps

Know how your mobile payments app compares against the industry standards. Get data-backed insights on the user flow from one stage to another across the entire user lifecycle.

Download Report

Last updated on April 5, 2024