Online Applications Issues: Why Do Signature Cards Still Exist?

by Ken Tumin

Internet banks aren’t the only ones that are moving to an all-online application process. I’ve become members at a few credit unions that didn’t require any mail. I was able to join the credit unions and open and fund CDs with just an online application. As was described in Sheryl’s post on how to take the hassles out of online banking applications, there are many hassles that can occur when you apply online. One of those hassles can be the signature card. Andera, the company the provides online application software for many banks and credit unions, has an interesting blog post asking why do signature cards still exist?

As described in the Andera blog post, many banks and credit unions still require customers to print and sign an application and mail it in. Not only does this make the application process more of a hassle, it also slows things down. When I apply online, I always prefer an all-online process.

The Andera blog post suggests two reasons why so many banks and credit unions are still requiring paper signatures from their customers. One is inertia. It can take time for an institution to change. The second reason is fear of violating banking regulations:

The regulations concerning signatures, particularly for data-intensive processes such as deposit and loan applications, are difficult to understand, and it’s easier to interpret conservatively than risk violation.

The Andera blog post describes how the Andera application software ensures that several regulations are met such as ID verification. However, this isn’t enough for many of Andera’s bank clients. According to the blog post:

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