AIB banks on new app to make it easy to open current accounts

Updated smartphone app allows customers open new bank accounts from their couches

AIB is aiming allow consumers to open a new bank account from their smartphones and without the need for a utility bill.

The bank is the latest financial institution to try to make the experience of opening an account that bit easier with an upgrade to its app that lets users get up and running without the need to make calls, visit physical branches or hunt around for various documents to confirm their addresses.

AIB, which has 1.3 million active digital customers, said signing up for a new current account via a smartphone should now take only a short time providing users have their passports to hand to show dedicated agents in a quick video call.

The process isn’t as simple as those provided by rivals such as KBC, which last year introduced a new app that enables customers to open an account in less than five minutes using a selfie. However, AIB’s head of digital channel development Seán Jevens described it as “pain free” and promised that customers would not be plagued by follow-up phone calls to obtain additional information.


“The two key pain points we see with customers opening accounts are around proving your identity and address. We’ve gone out to address this in our latest upgrade,” said Mr Jevens.

“Some of our newer rivals aren’t fully-fledged banks so they don’t have to ask as many questions as we do during the signing-up process but feedback from customers so far is that opening a current account with us through the app is quick and easy,” he added.

Cashless transactions

In addition to enabling new customers to sign up for bank accounts, the smartphone app also registers them for online banking and for Apple and Google Pay for cashless transactions, while debit cards and PINs are automatically sent on.

The new service is available to customers for 16 hours every day from 7am to 11pm.

Mr Jevens said about 75,000 new current accounts are opened by customers with the bank a year. He added that across the traditional banking sector about 40 per cent of accounts are now opened via mobile in situations where it is possible.

Last November marked the 20th anniversary of AIB’s online banking service. Mr Jevens said most customers now use their banking via mobile phones, rather than desktops. There are currently 850,000 customers using AIB’s mobile app on a daily basis, up 20 per cent compared with the same period a year ago. Mobile transaction volumes have also growing rapidly, up 39 per cent in the first half of the year, compared with the same six months in 2017.

Mr Jevens said developments such as enabling customers to access online banking through touch ID or Apple’s Face ID and enabling them to use the likes of Google and Apple Pay was leading more customers to use mobile banking more.

He added that as the first Irish bank to get Competition and Markets Authority approval in the UK under the new PSD2 open banking regulation, AIB was actively collaborating with fintechs on developing potential new services for customers.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist