CU 2.0’s Top Online Account Opening Vendors of 2019

Let’s face it. if you are about to join a new financial institution and they bring out the dreaded paperwork stack, the game is over. Just get up, walk out, and find someplace that isn’t stuck in 1995.

With everyone talking about digital transformation, we thought it would be helpful to provide an overview of the top providers of online account opening vendors in the credit union industry.

Why Online Account Opening Vendors Are Critical

As I stated in my book, Credit Union 2.0, approximately 40% of new banking customers walk out the door in the first 100 days. Now, I generally doubt this is how we see it in credit union land. Our members love us. And we’re super nice! They wouldn’t give up that quickly, would they?

Well no, not exactly. Actually, it’s even worse. In credit union land, they don’t tell us to our face that we suck—instead they just don’t fund their account and then abandon it. Then, they let us dormant fee them out of existence.

In that world, it takes a couple of years to realize that the member was never really engaged. What’s my point? Well, first impressions are huge. If it takes forever to get into the credit union and then it’s just full of forms, documents, and never-ending paperwork? That’s a lackluster first impression.

So how do you pick?

Evaluating Online Account Opening Providers

There are lots of ways to evaluate online account opening providers. You could do some crazy RFP, but this isn’t online banking or a core search. It’s just the most important member interaction your brand will have. In this case, demos and self-testing are probably the key.

First you need to determine which is more important to your credit union. Is it Service? Is it Growth? Or maybe it is Profit? Whatever it is, make sure you put those in order and keep that lens in place when you are looking at options.

This guide is designed to help you review online banking providers in key categories. Good luck!

Online Account Opening (OAO) Vendor Comparison Guide

Provider Rankings
User Experience Integration with Core KYC – ID validation Mobile / Tablet Responsiveness Support and Roadmap Funding Options & Experience Time to Open
Avoka (Temenos) 5 4 5 5 4 4 4
Bolts (JHA) 3 3 4 3 2 4 3
Bottomline 3 3 3 3 1 3 2
Connect Financial 3 3 3 3 2 3 3
CU Answers 3 5 4 5 3 4 4
CU Direct 4 4 4 4 4 3 4
FiServ Account Create 1 3 3 2 2 2 2
FiVision 3 4 4 3 3 3 3
Gro (Q2) 4 3 4 4 2 3 3
IMSI 5 5 4 4 5 4 4
Kasasa 3 2 4 4 4 4 4
Meridian Link 4 4 4 3 4 4 3
Narmi 5 5 4 5 4 5 5
Uopen 3 3 3 3 3 3 2
Vetter 5 1 5 4 4 5 5

Online Account Opening Criteria Definitions

This section goes into detail about the different metrics by which we ranked the online account opening criteria above.

User Experience

This is your first impression—your first opportunity to set the first 100 days off right. The user experience needs to be simple, clean, easy, and fast. Anything short of that and you will have abandonment and annoyed prospects.

Make sure you pick a vendor that has a UI that A) looks great and works, and B) is dynamic for your different segments.

Online Banking Core System Choice

This is just a yes or no question:

Does the candidate support your core?

Ask this first, because if they don’t support your core, it might take a while! They need to be able to open accounts all the way down to the checking & savings level without manual involvement.

KYC / Identity Verification

This is the scary part for most credit unions. You are letting someone in whom you have never met. You need to make sure you know who they are and that the person on the other end of the computer is in fact who you think they are.

Earlier in my career, I worked at a credit union where an MSR was opening accounts with fraudulently-obtained real identities. 28 new members generated who didn’t know they were members. Those 28 members got 28 car loans… and it was over a year before we figured it out. The money was long gone. Yikes.

Making sure that your OAO vendor can validate the person, their ID, etc. through a combination of ID checks, mobile phone credentials, and validation data is key! AND it still needs to be a great experience!

Online Banking Innovation

Innovation is all about seeing where things are going and being willing to change and adapt quickly. In our minds, innovation is guided nimbleness.

When the European Union adopts GDPR or Open Banking standards, then it’s only a matter of time until those standards come to the US.

It’s like when California adopts new fuel standards—whether you like it or not, their market is large and influential enough to define the norms.

Hence, picking a vendor that is innovative, who knows the trends, and sees where things are going is essential.

Don’t be stuck on what things looked like yesterday. Recognize that you need a platform that is built for speed, innovation, flexibility, and what the future holds.

Mobile / Tablet Responsiveness

Imagine you’re finally ready to make the shift. It’s the big moment. You have everything ready. You sit down and go to the website and… the form is wonky. Or maybe you’re on your tablet getting ready for bed. You’re thinking, enough is enough! It’s time to change. And then the UI is wonky!

Your members and your prospective members want do this on their time, on their device, and how they want. Your credit union better be ready.

Mobile and tablet responsiveness allows the device to drive the UI and to automatically adjust the experience to what the member is using.

Support / Roadmap

Unfortunately, regulations change. Your examiners change. Sometimes your examiners make you do silly things. Plus, consumers’ expectations are always changing. Let’s face it—everything in this industry will keep changing! So, make sure you pick a OAO vendor that is ready to help you keep pace with those changes and has a roadmap that will enable the credit union to be ready for tomorrow when it gets here.

Funding Options / Experience

So, you finally setup the account. The UI turned out to be great. All of your data was validated. Woo-hoo! For once, this is going to work, and you didn’t have to talk to anyone.

But then, you have to add some money. How difficult is it? Can you use your credit card? A debit card? Do you have to go find the checkbook that you haven’t used in 17 months?

Funding needs to be as seamless and well-thought-out as the UI and the rest of the OAO process. Make it simple and easy, and you will kick off the first 100 days with a bang. Do this right, and you can immediately begin moving the consumer up the value chain. Sign them up for a debit card, HELOC, and a money market! Get them using online and mobile banking and boom—another “A” member.


As you can see, there are number of criteria and providers to look at. We recommend narrowing the list down to the top two or three, doing some demos, and then charging ahead. Face it—the longer you wait, the more members you are missing, and the more your competition is getting ahead of you!

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