June 09, 2023

Activate more users with a faster and easier Link experience

Justina Chen

With roughly 1 in 3 US consumers with a financial account connecting to apps using Plaid Link, we obsess over every step in the experience so that it can be easier, faster, and safer for consumers. Every successful connection made through Link (i.e. conversion) helps you to activate users right away so you can generate more revenue. We hear it often from customers like Stash, a popular investments app, who saw 21% more users connect their external accounts with Link after switching from a previous provider and 19% more users go on to fund their Stash accounts.

Plaid works behind-the scenes to improve the Link experience without any additional work from you. You’re automatically benefiting from a continuous stream of Link optimizations that can increase conversion over time and help activate more users. To give you a glimpse of what our team has been hard at work on, here are the latest updates from the last few months.

Faster institution selection and search results

First impressions are everything. If a user can easily find their institution in Link, then there’s a greater chance that they’ll be able to connect their accounts to your app sooner. That's why we're constantly improving the institution selection experience so that it's as intuitive as possible for your users. And because the Plaid Network includes leading fintech companies with millions of users connecting their accounts, we’re able to identify areas for improvement, run experiments, and then quickly ship updates that help all our customers.

  • More institution logos: We're shipping a new layout for the Institution Select pane, which shows 8-10 institution logos before scrolling. In testing, ~5% more users were able to find their institution without using the search function in Link—which is one less step for them to complete when connecting their account. The new layout will be available soon in Sandbox and will be released in production at the end of June.

  • Personalized institution list: Plaid recommends a list of financial institutions that is personalized to each user, based on signals like their location (state) and the app they’re using. Now we’ve added more signals including a user’s device type and the Plaid products that you’re using. With the new signals, we’ve seen a relative conversion lift of ~1% for customers that are using Plaid’s personalized list of institutions. This means hundreds to thousands more users can be activated to your app just by using Plaid’s personalization. Check if you’re enabled for Plaid’s default list of institutions by reviewing your Institution Select setting in the dashboard.

  • Better search results: When users do need to search for their institution, we’re making sure they see the most relevant results. Recently, we shipped several search optimizations that have resulted in a meaningful lift in conversion as users are able to quickly find their institution when searching.

Higher conversion for OAuth flows on mobile-web 

As an API-first network, Plaid has a deep understanding of how OAuth flows work which is used to identify ways to improve conversion. Our team discovered that users on a mobile browser would often drop off between successfully completing an OAuth flow and returning to Link and your app. To reduce drop-off and improve conversion, we tested a Link experience where a user could complete an OAuth flow in a pop-up window, which made it easier for them to return to Link and your app. The experiment resulted in a ~11% relative lift in conversion for customers with mobile web traffic. Now the pop-up window experience is standard across all mobile web traffic for OAuth to help more of your users to connect successfully.

A better user experience with OAuth guidance

The Plaid Network supports the largest OAuth institutions to provide a secure and reliable way for users to connect their accounts. However, each bank’s OAuth experience can look very different, with some requiring users to select the accounts and specific data to share with a third-party. This can be confusing to users who don’t know which selections they need to make to successfully connect their account. And when users don’t make the right selections, you can’t access the data to help them manage their finances.

To help clear up some of the confusion, we show the OAuth pane in Link which provides guidance for users before they are taken to a bank’s OAuth experience to connect their accounts. Now we’ve introduced new instructions to guide users to successfully connect their accounts from Capital One, Chase, Wells Fargo, and US Bank which all require account selections. The instructions will be tailored to the institution’s requirements and the Plaid products that you’re using. For example, if Link is initialized with Auth, we’ll tell the user to select their checking or savings account, and share their account and routing numbers before they start the OAuth flow.

When we tested the new instructions with users, we were able to decrease errors by ~5%—including ACCESS_NOT_GRANTED, INSUFFICIENT_CREDENTIALS, NO_ACCOUNTS, and NO_AUTH_ACCOUNTS. This means more users can successfully connect their accounts and you can access the right data sooner to provide value to your users. The new OAuth instructions are available now in Sandbox and will be released to production at the end of June.

Stay up-to-date with the latest Plaid SDKs

Plaid SDKs can simplify the integration of Link with your mobile app and are one of the biggest levers to help increase your conversion. With a Plaid SDK, we take care of the entire Link experience for you with dedicated support for issues. You also get access to new Link features and optimizations that make it easier for users to securely connect their accounts. This includes support for App2App authentication, which can help 10-15% more users to connect their accounts to your app in less time [1]. As more institutions adopt App2App authentication, you’ll want to migrate to a Plaid SDK to not miss out on more conversion potential. To get started, use the latest Plaid iOS SDK (v4.4.0) which has a reduced package size and lower latency.

What's next?

The Plaid team is always focused on providing the best experience for account connectivity which leads to better conversion for your business. We’ll be leveraging more insights from our growing network to reduce user drop-off during the transition from your app to Link. We’re also exploring ways to embed parts of Link into your app for a more seamless user experience. Finally, we hear your feedback about latency and have a number of projects underway to reduce it.

Stay tuned as we’ll be sharing more exciting updates throughout the year. In the meantime, explore all the Link customizations that are available to you now to help improve conversion.

[1] Plaid data