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Which challenger bank has the best onboarding process

Last time we were talking about how my brother was stuck in London and needed to pay but didn’t have a credit card. We found out that Revolut has the least number of steps to from not having the app download to making the payment with your smartphone with 53 steps while N26 had the most steps with a total of 132. However, these numbers may not necessarily mean that Revolut has the best user experience and N26 the worst.

In this article, we want to dive more into the depths of what were the common hick-ups in the whole process, what could be improved, and which challenger banks have the best UX in this particular situation.

Just to briefly refresh your memory. The process consist of 4 main parts: 

  • KYC – registration
  • Create Virtual Debit Card 
  • Add to Apple Pay 
  • Authorisation Apple Pay/in-app to transact

So what were the main hiccups?

Terms and conditions

Apple has 56 pages long terms of conditions. I haven’t found exactly the number of how many pages Revolut or N26 has, but you simply don’t want to read them. Some of the challenger banks have gone around it and have chosen to present T&Cs in a tidy and easily consumable way, to not discourage the potential customer. Imagine yourself craving to open a banking account and the app keeps bombarding you with intricate and endless lists of terms to give your consent.


Not using your device’s capabilities, meaning that the current address or country you live in be prefilled from your device’s GPS location. Or even better, to draw all your personal details from an NFC reader, by just tapping your passport or smart Identification document. Another idea would be to take a photo of the document and parse all the data from the photo to the appropriate fields and forms.

Laying down the process ahead

When you arrive at the dentist and you sit in the chair you have no idea what’s gonna happen. It’s scary, uncomfortable and you don’t want to do it. Only if the dentist would tell you that today will be just cleaning which will take 15 mins and then you are good to go.

Not showing to the potential user what’s your current progress towards opening your new bank account is a big pain. You don’t know how much time it will take and at the same time how many processes are left for the KYC to be successful.

Parsing similar information

A fine example from N26 which is a big no-no is the fact that they ask a question (if you are a US citizen), you tap the answer, tap the Continue button, next question are you subject to paying taxes in the US, again tap the answer and again Continue. This is not the optimal use of the user’s time, instead of group or unify painful processes to minimize the impact on the user’s experience.

Asking the same data again and again and again

In N26 we had to input the login credentials the first time to register them with the bank, and at some part of the e-KYC process, these data were asked again to be typed. 

Unnecessary steps

Involving unnecessary processes inside the KYC, such as ordering a debit card (if it’s not crucial to your app security, like N26, or Monzo)

So who had the best user experience score.*

  • Best KYC – Bunq with UX Score 197
  • Worst KYC – N26 with UX Score -1443

When it comes to bunq, they have chosen to follow a very different approach to the digital onboarding process. You first become a user of the application. Then based on the account you want to open, you follow the appropriate steps. For example, if you want to open a simple current account you will go through the appropriate KYC process, specifically tailored for a current account.

On the other hand, N26 has managed to make the KYC onboarding process fairly complicated.

There is a lot of information that the user needs to type manually themselves, such as personal details and additional information as well. One of the steps that can make the user think of quitting this process midway is the fact that you have to go back and forth the application of N26 and your phone a couple of times, to authenticate yourself via the one-time passcode the bank sends you. This can be time-consuming and maybe a bit frustrating for some users.

If you have a brother like me, buy him a fanny pack or be prepared to use Revolut.

Kudos to Scientia for all the data. It was fun to write this article.

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Until next time

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