April 28, 2021

Canadian banks are making it difficult for customers to open and manage accounts online, according to newly released research from iProov, world leaders in secure biometric authentication technology.

The study, Online Banking in Canada: How are Canada’s Top Banks Balancing Security with User Experience for Online Customers?, put five of the largest banks in Canada to the test. Researchers attempted to open a checking account online at each of the banks and then carry out a number of transactions. The research looked at 61 data points, including how easy it was for a customer to move money, request a new debit card or change personal details online. 

The key findings of the research include:

  • The majority of banks don’t allow customers to open a bank account online. 

Only 40% of the banks enable the customer to fully complete the onboarding process online, while 60% require an in-person visit to a branch. This stands in contrast to similar research in the U.S., where only 20% of banks fail to offer a full online onboarding experience.

  • 100% of the banks don’t support opening an account via a mobile app. 

While all of the banks provide customers with an app for mobile banking, the apps don’t support the opening of an account. This again stands in contrast to the U.S., where a third of the banks offer onboarding via an app. In a separate study, iProov found that 23% of Canadian consumers have completed all of their banking on a mobile device in the past year.

  • An overwhelming majority of the banks – 80% – require more than a week to open an account.

The fastest onboarding process in Canada takes five days. This is in stark contrast to the U.S: Almost half of the American banks can onboard the customer within 30 minutes, and only in one instance did it take five days – the longest it took any U.S. bank.

  • It takes an average of 19 clicks to open a bank account online in Canada. 

The shortest user journey requires just 13 clicks from opening the website to completing the application process, while the longest takes 22 clicks. The average in the U.S. research is also 19 clicks.

  • Changing a PIN and requesting a new debit card require offline intervention.

Secure transactions can only rarely be completed online. Only one bank enables a new debit card to be requested online and one makes it possible to change a PIN online.

  • Resetting a forgotten password can be done online but it takes effort by the customer.

One bank requires seven pieces of information, including the employer’s name and mother’s maiden name, before the password can be reset online.

“Banks no longer need to choose between security and usability when it comes to delivering an impressive online customer experience – the technology now exists to deliver both at once,” said Joe Palmer, President of iProov Inc.

“Genuine Presence Assurance technology has changed the game for the financial services sector. It is now possible to verify within a few seconds that an online customer is the right person, a real person and that they are authenticating right now. That assurance, completed with an effortless face authentication, means that even the most secure processes can be completed online, whether it’s opening a bank account, changing a PIN or applying for a new credit card. It means convenience for the customer and increased online completion rates for the banks.”

The report can be downloaded here.

Canada Bank Report webpage image