The term “digital onboarding” is widely used in online marketing. In banking, the term denotes the practice of signing up for a bank account or other banking service entirely online or via mobile. In relation to bank accounts, digital onboarding refers to opening a bank account online.
Digital onboarding gained significance in the banking industry in 2016, when Swiss financial regulatory authority FINMA allowed banks to take on new customer through purely digital means using video authentication.
Previously, identification of customers via online channels was not permitted in Switzerland. Banks identified customers by mail via officially-endorsed paper documents or face to face interviews at branch offices.
Many Swiss banks still require face to face interviews at branch offices as their standard process for opening new accounts. This may change in the future as digital authentication practices become more widely accepted.
A handful of Swiss banks do allow digital onboarding. Valiant Bank, for example, has accepted digital onboarding as a means of opening new accounts since 2016.