More Than Half Of Online Financial Applicants Get Cold Feet

So much for the Golden Age of Technology: More than half of online financial applicants are bailing from the process before they hit the "submit" button, a new study shows.

Forrester Research partnered with comScore for the study, which examined consumer motivations in abandoning applications for online financial products including checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, auto insurance, brokerage accounts, mortgage loans, home equity loans and personal loans.

The study was based on behavioral data from comScore's panel of more than 2 million people worldwide, plus an e-mail survey of 568 applicants who had abandoned an application for a financial product online.

Of the 54% of those who initiated an online financial application but did not submit it, 49% said they had no intention of completing the application. This percentage was higher for deposit product applicants (58%) and substantially lower for credit card applicants (32%).

The top reasons cited by those who did not intend to complete the application were:

  • Wanted more product information (23%)
  • Not ready to apply (19%)
  • Wanted to see if they qualified for the product (14%)



Those who started an application with the intention of completing it, but who ended up abandoning the application, cited these reasons for not completing the application:

  • Changed their mind about applying online (12%)
  • Had privacy/security concerns (11%)
  • Wanted to speak to a salesperson regarding the product (11%)

The report, "Why Financial Shoppers Abandon Online Product Applications," is available at:,7211,43143,00.html.

"For most banks and lenders, this is still very much a multi-channel," says Forrester Research senior analyst Brad Strothkamp. Even though a lot of consumers will research online, they ultimately like to complete the application process over the phone or in person, he says. Companies that accommodate this tendency are doing a better job at getting more completions. He gave the example of Lending Tree, which prompts applicants to "save and continue" as they proceed. "If you drop out, they follow up with an e-mail," Strothkamp says.

Credit cards and auto insurance are two of the most likely products to be researched and applied for online, says Brian Jurutka, comScore senior director. "Credit card applications tend to be only one page," he says.

Ultimately, financial services sites generally have a ways to go at both understanding and solving this important issue, Strothkamp adds. Most financial firms have little idea of what's happening in the application process itself. They might have some idea of a completion rate, but little else. "They aren't like retailers," he says. "They are still in the dark ages in terms of analytics."

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