Onboarding is critical for any app, but nowhere is it more difficult than in Banking and FinTech


Because, for one thing, you can’t just ask for an email address or phone number — for banks and FinTechs, onboarding requires several critical steps where you have to ask for a user’s personal information, and this is likely why 26% of banking and FinTech customers drop out of the onboarding process.

Where do users fall out during the FinTech onboarding process?

(Data from HooYu’s ‘Fintech and e-money customer onboarding benchmarking report,’ linked above)

It’s not just about the in-app onboarding experience

Don’t get us wrong, having a clean, straightforward, and streamlined onboarding process is crucial — and there are plenty of articles and tips on how to improve your in-app onboarding experience — but equally as important is the strategy you use to bring users back.

At least 26% of your customers will drop out. What then?

Many FinTechs and banking apps rely on email to try to resurrect their users, but they should be investing just as much, if not more, in push notifications. Push notifications boast a 50% higher open rate and a 7x higher click-through rate, and a 93% increase in user retention.

So, what are they sending now?

We did a deep dive into several FinTech app’s push notifications, and what we found was surprising

Our process was simple: 

  1. We hooked a phone up to a notification logger 
  2. Installed the apps
  3. Started the onboarding process
  4. Abandoned the process

…and then we waited.

First of all, the ‘no-shows’

It’s worth noting that a significant number of the apps we installed didn’t send us anything.

Some, like NerdWallet, sent several emails, but we were surprised to see that they didn’t send any push notifications (especially since our engagement started with us downloading the app).

As we mentioned above, this is a huge missed opportunity for increasing onboarding success.

Secondly, the notifications

In general, the onboarding notifications we did receive fell into two camps: Directive or Benefit-driven. 

For examples of Directive notifications, see these notifications from the investment app, Robinhood:

These notifications tell you what to do, but they don’t tell you the why, and, again, this represents a huge missed opportunity. 

A study from Affirm found that the average American worries about money six times per day, and another from Thrive Global found that 90% of Americans worry about money to the point that it affects their work, relationships, and even their health.

…they don’t care about confirming their tax status or adding a photo ID.

While it is important to help clearly guide people through the next steps of their application process, notifications aren’t the best place for this kind of communication. Notifications need to help draw people back to your application process by reminding them why they started in the first place.

For more Benefit-driven notifications, check out these push notifications from Chime:

A couple of general notes on this onboarding sequence:

  • The onboarding sequence only consisted of three messages
  • Each message was sent with a 1-day delay at the same time as we had started the application process (every day at 1 pm)
  • No further messages were received after these three.

While these messages from Chime are closer, they still miss the mark in a number of ways.

First of all, note that they repeat portions of the message

  • The first two messages use the same “✅ Finish signing up” header
  • The bodies of the second two messages start with the same “Get a fee-free overdraft up to $200”

Messages like these lead to the habituation effect (where people start to ignore repetitive stimuli), but more than that, if you only have three chances to encourage someone to finish your onboarding process, is this the best you can do?

Secondly, these messages only mention three benefits:

  • Early pay with direct deposit
  • Fee-free $200 overdraft
  • No additional fees

Do these small handful of notifications effectively tap into the many reasons why someone may use an app like Chime?

How can we improve FinTech and Banking app onboarding success?

As we’ve already established, people are incredibly passionate about money, and, if you can tap into those passions and motivations, you can bring back a significant number of those individuals who drop out of the onboarding process.

1. Identify the surface-level reasons (usually features) why people use your app

There are many reasons (in the form of features) why someone would use an app like Chime (not just the three we mentioned above). Here are several:

  1. Fee-free overdrafts
  2. Automatic savings features
  3. No monthly fees
  4. Early direct deposit access
  5. Mobile check deposit
  6. Free Visa debit card
  7. No minimum balance requirements
  8. Large fee-free ATM network
  9. Easy peer-to-peer payments
  10. User-friendly mobile app interface

2. Find the motivations behind those reasons:

Here is the output of that exercise:

  1. Fee-free overdrafts — Avoiding financial penalties, managing unexpected expenses.
  2. Automatic savings features Building financial security, fostering good saving habits.
  3. No monthly fees Saving money, reducing unnecessary expenses.
  4. Early direct deposit access Gaining quicker access to funds, improving cash flow.
  5. Mobile check deposit Convenience, saving time, and reducing physical banking interactions.
  6. Free Visa debit card — Access to a universally accepted payment method, avoiding credit card debt.
  7. No minimum balance requirements — Flexibility in money management, avoiding stress of maintaining a specific account balance.
  8. Large fee-free ATM network Easily accessible cash without extra costs, convenience.
  9. Easy peer-to-peer payments Simplifying money transfers with friends and family, increasing social ease in financial dealings.
  10. User-friendly mobile app interface Ease of use, accessibility, and managing finances efficiently.

3. Convert those motivations into messages:

Here’s just a small sample:

Which motivation(s) apply to you?

As you can see, even just focusing on these motivations gives us plenty of fodder for new and interesting benefit-driven messages.

…but we still need one more piece to make this more effective.

4. Use Aampe to match each motivation with each user

Some people are looking to use FinTech and Banking apps to get out of massive credit card debt. Others are looking for investment advice and opportunities.

Messaging each group with their relevant motivation will likely be very effective. However, messaging each individual with the wrong motivation would likely produce a negative effect.

This is why it’s important to ensure you’re matching each motivation with each individual user.

FinTechs who use Aampe get more installs, conversions, and repayments

By writing messages that appeal to each user motivation and using AI to distribute their messages, FinTech apps have seen:

  • 14% increase in app opens
  • 13% increase in transactions
  • 29% decrease in WhatsApp/SMS sends

...and this equating to hundreds of thousands of dollars in incremental revenue, while significantly reducing WhatsApp/SMS expenses.

If you want to increase the onboarding completion rate for your FinTech app, smash this orange button: