The Wall Street Journal reports today in its Personal Finance section on the plans at Citibank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Wachovia, and HSBC to offer instant online checking account signup later this year.
While it makes sense for these national powerhouses to enable instant account signup, smaller financial institutions needn’t feel they must follow suit.
Bank accounts, especially checking, aren’t impulse purchases like the consumer goods sold at other online retailers. Most bank customers won’t mind if their checking account is opened by the end of the week.
More important than instant signup are clear explanations of what happens next, email status reports as the process progresses, and clear privacy and security guarantees. A personal telephone call or email followup from a new account rep wouldn’t hurt either.