Social sign on has become an integral feature of websites and apps in almost every sector. The ability to log-in to any new product or provider with a couple of clicks, and without the need to create and remember a separate password, has become so familiar that being confronted with an application form and asked to type your name and email address feels very much behind the times.

Finance firms have tended to be behind the times regarding ‘social’, so it is no coincidence that the one industry stubbornly refusing to embrace social sign on is finance. By ignoring this opportunity firms are not only making life more difficult for current and potential customers, they are also missing the chance to connect their customers to each other. The use of social sign on means firms can access customers contacts lists, and can then show users which of their friends, family or colleagues are already using their service. This provides endorsement, but it can be used to encourage users to communicate with each other.

Some of the biggest, most innovative and most successful companies in the world make use of the contacts of their customers to promote referrals and, often to enhance the overall customer experience. Spotify is a particularly good example of this – if signing up with Facebook, users get the chance to access any playlists that their friends have put together.


We have long been advocates for social functionality for investment firms, and this doesn’t need to be revolutionary. As a starting point, incorporating a messaging feature into an investment product would allow users to talk to each other about the investments they’re making, and could help new and inexperienced investors become more comfortable with the investment world. However, even without the messaging feature, by using social sign on, and showing users customers they already know, firms can promote this sort of dialogue, and hopefully endorsement, offline.

A common reason offered by financial firms for not using social sign on is that it doesn’t collect all the information required to verify a customer for anti-money laundering purposes, but this is a weak excuse. Clearly firms in the financial sector have to collect more information about customers than social sign on alone can provide, but just because you have to ask customers to type in their address does not mean you have to oblige them to type in their name and email address as well. Another reason that does not stand up to scrutiny is that many customers may not want to link something as important as their investments to their social media account. This is almost certainly true, but those customers would remain free to sign up in the traditional manner.  Additional security can also be applied for different levels of access to a trading account if required.

All in all, the use of social sign on is a very simple, cost effective and proven way to improve the customer experience for those customers who wish to use it. It has the potential to facilitate conversations between customers that will boost a firm’s referrals and improve conversions. It is the modern way, and it is time it was embraced by the financial services sector.