February 24, 2023

How simplifying customer signup can drive your growth hacking efforts – and make your app a hit

Paul McGuire
Co-founder, CEO at tru.ID

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From 10 steps down to 2 – how using a mobile number to streamline the signup flow can drive customer adoption and improve security.

It’s widely accepted that the more steps you have in a signup flow, the worse the impact on conversion rate; whether that’s a banking app, a social media app, a payment app… anything.

In fact, much of the discipline of ‘growth hacking’ is dedicated not just to making a product go viral, but also removing points of friction – to encourage people to sign up in the first place, and then form regular usage habits. 

The problem is, even though online experiences are increasingly happening on mobile apps, most login experiences are still based around legacy desktop era technology: the old-fashioned email address & password combo. But because everyone knows that is not a secure combination alone, the additional friction of a PIN code via SMS is typically added. The result, unfortunately, is a high-friction UX disaster that is still not secure. 

The problem with using email for user identity

When you use email as the digital user identity, there are flaws and security gaps from the beginning. The only way to prove a person owns an email address is to send them an email and have them click on it – creating multiple steps and already a chance for a malicious actor to intercept the email. 

Then the user has to create a secure password, which is both a major pain and not secure (as most users will reuse a password that may have been compromised). On top of that, they also have to add SMS 2FA, which creates even more steps – and can also be compromised.

There has to be a better way!  

At last, there is. You can now securely verify a mobile number with confidence, and use that as the primary identity, instead of the email address – fixing multiple problems.

Benefits of using mobile number as the user identity

The mobile phone number is the ideal digital identity for today’s mobile world. Unlike the email address, the mobile number is tied directly to the mobile handset through the cryptographic security of the SIM card that is in every device.

But the best part is that you can now verify that phone number invisibly; with strong security and a frictionless UX, and without the need for SMS, or any PIN codes. It happens totally silently, in the background, using SIM-based authentication from tru.ID.

Transforming the sign-up flow

A typical new user onboarding flow on a mobile app has at least 10 steps:

  1. Customer downloads app
  2. Customer enters email address
  3. Company sends verification email to customer (customer switches to email)
  4. Customer clicks on link in email
  5. Customer returns to the app
  6. Customer types in password
  7. Customer types in password again, to confirm
  8. Customer types in mobile number
  9. Company sends SMS to customer with PIN code
  10. Customer types in PIN

And worse, the whole process is not secure – and often goes wrong. How often have you wasted time refreshing your inbox waiting for a verification email to come through, or received your SMS too late due to delivery issues?

From 10 steps to 2

Using the mobile number as the digital identity, secure verification using tru.ID SIM-based authentication can transform this process from 10 steps to just 2.

  1. Customer downloads app
  2. Customer enters mobile number

And that’s it!

That’s right, just one piece of information for a customer to enter – their phone number. 

The mobile number becomes the digital identity associated with that user’s account. It is silently and securely verified, so you know it is a valid, trusted mobile number – and there is no SMS or PIN code, preventing man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks.

How does it work? Like magic!

tru.ID uses the latest SIM-based authentication technology to verify a user’s mobile number. The check is performed silently with the Mobile Network Operator (MNO) and takes only a few seconds.

The MNO checks the SIM card in the mobile phone and verifies that the mobile number supplied by the customer is the same as the one tied to the SIM card in the device.

Once the number has been verified, future checks (for example when a customer returns) can be performed silently, with no user action involved and no need to re-enter the mobile number – cutting down from the multi-step friction of an OTP or authentication app, to just one silent check.

About tru.ID

tru.ID uses the cryptographic security of the SIM card to unlock a whole new way of doing business online. The company’s products allow developers to completely re-engineer the mobile user experience, helping to increase revenues and reduce fake accounts and fraud.

The tru.ID API platform is self-service, with mobile SDKs and tooling that supports a modern development workflow from initial integration through to deployment at scale.  

tru.ID is already live in 23 markets covering over 2bn mobile accounts. 

To learn more about tru.ID visit our website, or talk to Sales for your personalised demo.