Klarna for the win!

Meaghan Johnson
5 min readApr 29, 2019

Over the past seven years, I have been reviewing hundreds (maybe even thousands at this point) of digital customer experiences within financial services. In this time I have witnessed an evolution in payments, PFM, servicing, investments, you name it.

However, in my opinion, the onboarding experience has seen the most significant, consistent improvements. Having recently applied for a bank card from Klarna, I feel as though the epitome of a beautiful onboarding experience has finally been achieved in the financial services industry.

This journey is so good that I had to share the details, and I hope this provides inspiration for all :)

I am a frequent user of Klarna and I was recently in the app to make a payment and started to poke around the app. I came across a prompt for a Klarna bank card. While I won’t be using this card day to day, there are many times where I lose my N26 MasterCard (along with everything else in my life) and am stuck with the Maestro for a few days. For those of you who have ever tried to purchase anything with a Maestro online, you know my pain, so I figured having this card as a backup would be a great way to ensure I can book flights and make the necessary purchases in the absence of my N26 MC.

Two things really stood out for me: 1. the design and branding within the journey 2. the bypass of Video / Post Ident for KYC.

Beginning the process, customers can choose from 4 cards (see below). I went for the far right option.

Once customers select the card, they are informed that their card is being printed.

We then confirm the address for shipment

Next up we begin the ID process. Klarna has bypassed the dreaded Post / Video Ident which I believed to be mandated within Germany (The BaFin requires in all KYC cases to physically see the applicant, hence why customers must ID themselves at a branch, post or via a video call). For anyone who has done the Video Ident, it’s a nuisance, slightly creepy and just a hassle.

Within the app, I will log into my German bank account, with the e-signature (we will see this later) backed by Swisscom. It appears as though this “open banking-esq feature” of accessing bank data is being utilized as ID. If this is the case, then PSD2 and open banking just got a massive thumbs up in my books.

I then select my bank from a drop-down list / open field and I select N26. I am then told the connection is being established

Now comes the interesting part. I log into my N26 account within the Klarna app.

Whoops! An error! I must have incorrectly entered my password, so let’s try again.

Great, take 2 worked. I am now informed that to finalize the ID I will transfer 10 cents to Klarna. See that Confirmation Pin area? That is the 2FA method from my N26 account — all payments are completed by entering my 4 digit Confirmation Pin. So far I am completely kept within the Klarna app.

I enter the PIN and see the following message:

I am then prompted to confirm the transaction within my N26 app (an additional level of security from N26)

I then go back to the Klarna app where the next step is to sign the contract.

I receive the code via SMS

Almost done…contract has been signed ( I have the option to view this) and now I need to set the card PIN

A nice little moving fist pump….

And then I create the PIN

I am then told I will receive the card within 14 days (a bit late, the only downfall of this journey, but hey!)

Looking through the fine print of the contract I am able to find out a bit more about the card, in particular:

  1. It is a credit card.
  2. It is issued by Klarna Bank AB.
  3. The card has a fixed CVV code but also allows users to create unique one time CVV codes, which allows me to make online purchases (codes are valid for 3 hours) if I do not physically have the card (nice!)
  4. The card can be managed in the Klarna User Portal.

However, I still have a few lingering questions:

  1. How was Klarna able to bypass the Physical ID requirements?
  2. Will access to existing bank accounts be the norm for ID in Germany?
  3. Why is Klarna just so awesome :)

I’m happy to hear readers thoughts on this experience :)







Meaghan Johnson

Fintech Nerd. I enjoy sharing my banking experiences to help banks and startups create the best possible solutions for customers.