9 minute read

How to increase bank linking conversion in your product.

Imagine this: You've devoted countless hours to crafting the perfect ad campaign, fine-tuning your landing page, and optimizing your customer acquisition strategies. Your efforts are yielding results: sign-up conversions are soaring, and your customer acquisition cost (CAC) is decreasing.

But just as you're starting to celebrate your success, you notice an alarming trend. Your funnel analysis reveals a significant drop-off at the bank linking step, causing your seemingly low CAC to skyrocket. Nearly 40% of users are abandoning the process at this point, and you're left feeling frustrated and helpless. You've been here before and you've placed the blame on the aggregator you are using, deciding to accept the high CAC and focus on other parts of the funnel.

Now, let's flip the script. Imagine if that bank linking drop-off rate was just 10%. That's 30% more users successfully completing your onboarding process. Not only does this give you more data to analyze and improve your services, but it also accelerates your path to product-market fit, reduces negative reviews, and eases the burden on your customer support team.

You might think it's impossible, but this post aims to show you how you can significantly improve your bank connection drop-off rates without waiting for your aggregator to step in. By leveraging the power of psychology and examining the strategies of successful companies, you can enhance your bank linking flow and drive conversion.

How to Improve Bank Linking Conversion

We will discuss three main strategies to increase bank linking conversion.

1. Identify and Amplify Benefits

Benefits keep users engaged during your onboarding process. Consider how brushing your teeth provides the immediate benefit of fresh breath and the long-term benefit of cavity prevention.

2. Identify and Remove Barriers

Barriers can prevent users from progressing and cause them to abandon the onboarding process. For example, if your application requires excessive cognitive effort, users may decide it isn't worth it. Let's say your users have navigated through several complex steps, and the next step is bank linking. You can see how this could become a problem.

3. Combine Aggregators

This strategy focuses on the actual bank linking step. We will explore how to implement this yourself, if you haven't already, and how to do it effectively.

What's not immediately obvious about steps 1 and 2 is that they don't necessarily involve improving the bank linking step. Instead, they generate excitement and create a fear of missing out (FOMO), making users more willing to link their bank accounts.

Identifying and Amplifying Benefits

As previously mentioned, benefits motivate users to engage with your application. But which benefits should you highlight? There are many options, and some are more effective than others. Here are some strategies to help you decide which to focus on.

Immediate Rewards

Just like the toothpaste example, you need to provide users with immediate benefits. Most people don't brush their teeth every day to prevent cavities; they do it for the instant reward of fresh breath.

The image above demonstrates this concept. You want your benefits to fall into the top-right category - immediate and necessary.

Ask yourself:

1. How can I reframe my product to provide immediate benefits when users link their bank account?

For example:

1. If you're a budgeting app, the long-term benefits might include saving for the future. But what about right now? You could show users that they're unknowingly spending about $150 per month. How much are they wasting? They can find out by linking their accounts.

2. A credit card could promise to help improve users' credit scores. This is a long-term benefit. However, you could reframe it for immediate benefits like, "Start spending up to $500 after linking your bank account."

Cognitive biases

Using users' psychology can be effective, as they often can't control their behaviors. You're tapping into inherent desires.

Consider these cognitive biases when formulating your benefits:

Social Proof

People tend to follow others' actions when they're unsure, as Robert Cialdini explains in his book "Influence." If you're asking for bank information, remind users that others are also doing it, and they're not alone.

For example:

1. "Join 500 people who have linked their accounts today."

2. "Jane from TX just found $150 in unnecessary subscriptions" or "Mike from UT just got a $500 spending limit."

3. "Link your bank using the same software as Venmo, Betterment, Robinhood."

Peak-End Rule

The peak-end rule suggests that users remember peak moments, including the end of onboarding. So celebrate their achievements, like linking a bank account.

For example:

1. Over-validate your users when they complete tasks, similar to a parent praising their child. Imagine confetti popping on the screen.

2. Award them achievements or milestone badges for completing certain steps.

The Halo Effect

Cialdini explains that we comply with people we like in his book "Influence." If your copy is friendly and approachable, users are more likely to comply.

For example, Yotta uses:

1. Name input - "Hey Stranger"

2. Age input - "Ooooo looks like you're a Virgo"

3. Address input - "Brooklyn is beautiful this time of year"

Users are more likely to add their bank account to an app that they feel connected to.

Identifying and Removing Barriers

This step is easier than the previous one as most of the advantages come from simply eliminating unnecessary elements.

What do we gain by removing? We reduce the cognitive load on the user. With less to consider, they'll have more patience when they need to link their bank accounts.

Here are some cognitive biases that can help you identify barriers you may have inadvertently created.

Cognitive Load

Each decision a user makes reduces their willingness to make future ones. If one of those future decisions involves linking their bank account, you need to minimize the number of decisions the user has to make.

Consider the following when trying to reduce cognitive load:

1. Do your pages have many options?

Simplify the decision-making process by providing a recommended option that most people choose.

2. Do users have to answer numerous questions?

Consider removing fields requiring user input and replacing them with selectable options to prevent procrastination.

3. Is address verification required?

Use an address autocomplete feature to expedite user navigation during onboarding without requiring extra thought.

Linking bank accounts can be a cognitive burden for several reasons:

1. Users may have to recall their login information.

2. They must decide whether they trust your application with their information.

The less thinking users have to do before linking their bank account, the more likely they are to do it.

Mental models

Our actions and social interactions can be influenced by our underlying assumptions about how the world works. These assumptions often come from a mix of observable norms, partial truths, past experiences, and instinctual judgments.

If you're trying to introduce something new during onboarding, such as a different way to collect information, consider whether it's necessary. There's a high chance your users will get confused. If your product offers something unique and requires new learned behavior, then teaching is necessary.

However, for most fintech apps, especially during onboarding, there's no need to reinvent the wheel. An example of this would be using custom-made icons for standard actions, which can lead to confusion.

Combining Aggregators

The final step is aimed at improving the reliability of the bank connection process. Most people overlook this step, but by combining aggregators, you can improve initial connection reliability by 25%, according to data from our users who have combined using Fuse.

Combining aggregators allows you to direct users to the aggregator with the best reliability for each institution. For example, Plaid does not work for PNC one of the largest US Consumer banks or Fidelity, so you either let the user drop off, or you reroute them to a different aggregator. This can happen frequently for various institutions due to temporary downtime or loss of support.

There are mainly two ways to solve this. Let's explore both.

Building it yourself

This involves two main stages: unifying all aggregator endpoints and deciding how to build the routing.

For routing, you can start by defaulting all the connections to one aggregator. Then use an internal tool to manually switch the aggregator when you detect issues. Over time, you'll see an improvement in your connections.

The benefits are:

1. Over time, certain bank accounts will have better reliability.

The downsides are:

1. Over time, certain bank accounts will have better reliability.

2. You won't know which aggregators to select for an institution when you decide to switch an aggregator.

3. You might not have enough data to make the switch aggregator quickly.

4. You'll have to handle many API quirks when unifying all the endpoints you need.

We have a complete guide on how to combine aggregators yourself. You can check that out here. Let's look at another approach.

Not Doing it Yourself

If you'd rather not do it yourself, you can use a provider that has already done the heavy lifting. The main benefits they provide are:

1. They can AB test aggregators against each other to determine which one is best for each institution.

2. They know which aggregator is best for any institution at any given moment.

3. From day one, you'll have the most reliable connections.

Fuse is one of those providers. If you're not interested in doing this all yourself and want to learn how we can do all this for you, you can pick a time here to see if Fuse could be a good fit for your company.

Case Study #1 - Rocketmoney (formerly Truebill)

Evidence of benefits

Social Proof

Rocketmoney utilizes social proof to encourage continuation of the signup process. New users see real-time examples of other Rocketmoney users achieving savings. This information rotates every three seconds to display more individuals benefitting from the app, reinforcing its trustworthiness.

Immediate Reward

Rocketmoney's primary goal is to assist with budgeting, a task not typically associated with immediate benefits. While proper budgeting can result in long-term savings, it can also seem complex to set up.

Rocketmoney reframes their product by suggesting that you may be unaware of what you're paying for and prompting you to link your bank to discover more. They offer immediate subscription cancellation at the tap of a button, promising quick and significant savings.

Barriers Removed

Rocketmoney simplifies the process to connect your bank account, offering a user-friendly experience that reduces cognitive load by not focusing on making the user learn a million features.

This approach, known as progressive disclosure, prevents users from feeling overwhelmed and increases the likelihood of successful onboarding. Once the user learns how to use the core functionality you can upsell later on your other features. Focus is key here.

Another example is when setting a monthly payment amount, Rocketmoney suggests what others typically pay to ease decision-making.

Case Study #2 - Yotta

Evidence of benefits

Social proof

Upon first entering Yotta, users see clear social proof of the substantial winnings amassed on the app.

Immediate reward

Yotta promotes savings through their checking account. However, they go beyond traditional savings methods by providing a daily lottery where users can win one million dollars. Upon completion of the onboarding process, users receive 20 Yotta lottery tickets, offering an exciting potential reward with no downside.

The Halo Effect

Yotta personalizes messages based on user responses during onboarding, giving the app a unique personality. This approach makes users more likely to link their bank account to an app they enjoy using.


In conclusion, improving bank linking conversions in fintech apps requires understanding user psychology. By highlighting immediate benefits, simplifying processes, and leveraging aggregator strengths, as demonstrated by Rocketmoney and Yotta, fintechs can make bank linking an intuitive and enjoyable part of the user experience. This strategy not only boosts conversion rates, but also builds trust and satisfaction among users, showing that a user-centric, psychologically-informed approach is crucial to fintech innovation.

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