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  • Writer's pictureOliver Lane

Comparing Investing App Onboarding Journeys

UK investors hold an investing account for an average of 5.5 years with a portfolio value of £33,000. With an average fee of 1.9% per year and 16.9 million UK investors there's a whopping £10.6 billion market opportunity to capitalise on every year. The first step to unlocking this money is onboarding investors and making it as simple and easy as possible for them to start investing, but how easy are the top investing apps actually making it for users to sign up...?

Let's find out how the industry stacks up

Using Behind Login’s research panel we conducted a study into the Onboarding journey of 10 popular UK investing apps. To ensure research consistency, we conducted the research using the same research participant and completed onboarding for all apps within 48 hours.

To analyse the research findings we assessed 2 simple criteria from ‘first download’ to ‘accessing the account’ on each app:

  • How many steps were involved in the onboarding journey?

  • How long did the journey take including time to input data?

On average it takes 6 minutes to open an investing account and 27 steps from downloading an investing app to opening an account.

Time to Open Account

Every app allowed users to open an account apart from Lightyear, which required 1-day for accounts to be confirmed and opened. Wealthify also required a detailed ID verification process, which is unclear whether this is required for every user.

Number of Steps to Open Account

We observe a broad correlation between the ‘Number of Steps’ and the ‘Time to Open Account’. UX best practice dictates that fewer steps and shorter journey times reduce friction and lessen cognitive load which leads to an increase in conversion, but with regulated industries there is a balance that must be met to capture the required user information whilst maintaining a slick and seamless UX before allowing accounts to be opened.

What does good Investing App Onboarding look like?

From our research we have identified some best practice across the top performing apps that can be applied to Onboarding Journeys.

CMC Invest

Upon launching the application journey CMC Invest gives users a checklist of the requirements to open an account. The app also includes an estimated time to complete the application.

Providing clear instructions up-front helps users prepare what they will need to open an account, and is likely to reduce churn and increase conversion.


Stake's progress bar is a simple four stage tracker that reassures user’s of the progress being made.

This simple UI element helps to reduce uncertainty and frustration through the journey and keeps them motivated and engaged to complete the application.


Chip has the fastest onboarding time (2 minutes 48 seconds) and the fewest steps (18) in the journey. This is possible by removing a lot of the user requirements such as 'selecting an account type' or 'linking a bank' which are included later in the journey when the need arises.

Breaking up the journey and only including steps when they become relevant reduces the time-to-completion and provides a sense of achievement earlier in the experience.

By completing initial onboarding and capturing user contact information earlier in the journey also provides a mechanism to reach out to users that haven't converted, increasing likelihood in the future.

CMC Invest

Upon application submission, CMC Invest provides a loading screen with three stages that automatically show when completed as the application is processed.

This can be an effective method when a process is known to take a long time, reducing frustration when users don't know how long they have to wait for a task to complete. This can also improve the perceived performance of the app. When users see that a task is progressing, they perceive the app to be performing better and are not left wondering if the task is stuck or not.


Upon completing the application and landing in the app, InvestEngine has a product walk through of the key features for the user. Rather than having a full screen swipe through process, which are often ignored, having tappable content that highlights different features brings the educational content to life for the user.

Product walkthroughs highlight the most important features of the app and show users how to use them. This can help users to get started with the product quickly and easily.

Product walkthroughs can also help users to learn how to use the product without having to contact support, reducing contact centre support and operational costs.


Stake offers users a free stock when they sign up and fund their account within 24 hours. Incentivising new investors to get started and add funds to their accounts has been popularised in one way or another by many FinTech Apps.

Apart from increasing the likelihood of users funding and engaging with their account, this model also makes the app more accessible to new investors. Investing can be daunting, especially for beginners. Offering a free stock gives new investors a chance to try out the app and learn about the stock market without having to risk any of their own money.

This also helps to build trust and confidence in the app. By offering users a free stock, Stake is showing that they are confident in their app and that they are committed to providing a good experience for users.

Watch the journeys for yourself

Check out the top performing onboarding journey from Chip below. To see the rest of the journeys or find out how you stack up against the competition, get in touch with Behind Login.

Key Takeaways

  • Break up the onboarding journey into smaller, more manageable steps. This will make it less daunting for users and help them to learn at their own pace.

  • Provide clear requirements, visual instructions and examples early in the journey. This can help to make the onboarding journey more engaging and easier to follow.

  • Use a progress tracker to show users how far they are along in the onboarding journey. This can help to keep them motivated to complete the process.

  • Offer users an incentive for signing up and funding their account. This is a great way to share the core app value quickly and educate users how to use the app and encourage them to start investing.


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