Today, banking as we know it has changed – it’s constantly being disrupted by digital competitors, and customers’ loyalty is finally shifting to newer, innovative fintech competitors. It’s expected that by the end of 2017, most of the UK’s population will be using digital banks, and nearly half will access their accounts – whether this be banking, credit cards or brokerage – at least once a month with their mobile devices. Simply put, they want their banks, and their finances, to be more convenient and accessible than ever.

What’s clear is that technology has begun to, and will continue to, change consumer behaviour and expectations – people now expect that services adapt to their daily lives with minimal interruption. This expectation from customers has now filtered through to the banking experience, whereby they want a fast and secure service from their bank.

Keeping up with the more agile competition can be tough, but there are a few things financial providers can do to smooth their onboarding processes – and consumer experience – in today’s changing landscape:

1 – Optimise for your audience

Nearly 50% of UK millennials rely on digital banking already – a figure that’s only expected to grow in the future, especially as other generations chose this approach too. Consumers now have more options than ever, and to keep pace, it’s vital that financial institutions stay on top of upcoming trends.

One way of getting ahead is for banks to reevaluate their onboarding strategies, particularly as they pertain to different devices. Optimising offerings across devices, particularly mobile, will open a new channel for your customers to access. When banks and other institutions take the step to improve ways of interacting with customers – and in turn collecting data – it will result in more accounts being opened, more credit cards being applied for and issued, and ultimately, happier consumers.

2 – Securing your site

With digitization comes risk, such as exposing consumers’ financial details to unnecessary danger. Considering that cybercrime has cost businesses over £1bn within the past year alone, it’s critical that banks and retailers alike examine the risks and ensure customer satisfaction.

Implementing tools like address validation is a great way to prevent fraud by streamlining and systemising your online processes. It also enables you to easily keep all your existing and stored data up to date through an application processing interface (API) that can be customised to different internal systems.

3 – Review and upgrade your touchpoints

Big banks are now catching on to the importance of online consumer experience. Address validation provides the ability to verify and store customer addresses accurately, saving time in the future and reducing the likelihood of errors.

Performance of online banks is critical and issues such as load speed or latency must be thought through and managed. As financial organizations grow mobile users, they should continue to look for new options and approaches to improve their existing infrastructure. Allowing customers to engage across devices is crucial for any business in today’s digital environment.

Banks should continue taking every opportunity to review and improve their consumer touchpoints. Examining where further value can be added, whether this is a new registration, change of address or fraud detection are ways to provide further services and value to existing and new customers. Capturing data is equally important, and doing so effectively means not cutting corners. Having the right data on hand may take a bit more time in the short run, but can prevent massive issues and discrepancies down the road.

Today, consumers are more informed and opinionated than ever, meaning “customer experience” is no longer a buzzword, but an essential requirement for any financial organization. Being able to match an experience to their heightened expectations should be the end-goal for banks everywhere now.