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Banks’ mobile apps fall short of the grade

I got an
interesting piece of news about a report on mobile apps this week: "Mobile
Apps for Banking 2013
" by myprivatebanking, a Zurich-based research

to their analysis, the overall quality of mobile apps for banking is
increasing, but there is still a critical lack of more advanced, user-friendly
features and content.

based upon myprivatebanking’s proprietary ranking mechanism, DBS and Capital
One offer the best mobile apps with Société Générale, Westpac and ABN Amro
making the Top 5.

Most noteworthy
is that, since the last report in 2011, the number of banking apps and app
features have grown explosively, accompanied by an improvement in overall
quality, with the average rating increasing from 35 to 40 out of 60 points in
2013. But myprivatebanking still sees a high divergence between the best
offerings and those from the mass of the banks analyzed.

The winners
of this year’s app ranking is Singapore-based DBS Bank, ranked 4th
in the 2011 report, alongside US bank, Capital One, who both achieve an overall
score of 50 out of 60 points. 

Top 5
Banks with the best mobile apps strategy (overall 50 banks ranked)

Rank 2013 (Rank 2011)                   Bank      Total
Points (max. 60)

(New)          -                        Capital One                        50

(4)              ↑                       DBS
Bank                            50

(6)              ↑                       Société Générale                 49

(18)             ↑                       ABN Amro                           48

(New)          -                        Westpac                             48

these, the average bank’s performance is not even close to that of the top
performers with the main shortcomings being that:

  • Banking apps offer only basic functionality, missing out on more
    advanced features
    . Almost one-fifth of the banks still have no ATM and branch
    finders and as well no credit card features integrated in their app
    offerings. Brokerage/trading features are only available for just under
    half of the mobile banks under review. Only 52% of banks offer a contact
    option for “lost and stolen cards”.
  • Banks are weak when it comes to providing interesting features and
    product information for customers.
    Most banks (72 %) do not provide any
    corporate information. Only about half of the banks (56 %) provide
    information about their products and services to app users. Interactive
    calculators to promote these products and services are only found within
    17 mobile banking applications altogether.
  • Lack of content and multimedia features. Less than half of the evaluated
    banks offer financial news and banks providing research publications or
    client magazines number only 12 and 16 of the 50 analyzed, respectively.
    Video or audio content is only available for 34 % of the banks in the
    evaluation. The remaining 33 banks do not provide multimedia content at
  • App coverage for tablet devices is still lacking. Currently only 30 out of 50
    banks offer native tablet mobile banking applications.



About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here…

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  • We were really interested to read the recently published mobile banking app research by MyPrivateBanking research (http://www.myprivatebanking.com/Report/benchmarking-of-top50-banks-mobile-apps ), which looked at the app offerings of 50 major banks, finding that while the overall quality of mobile banking apps is getting better, ‘there is still a critical lack of more advanced, user-friendly features and content’.
    The research looked at well-known high street names such as Lloyds TSB, Barclays, Santander, RBS, Halifax and HSBC, as well as numerous other major players from around the world. It goes on to highlight some of the apps that impressed: step forward Capital One (US), DBS Bank (Singapore) and Société Générale (France). It also explains why many others fail to score well in its ratings system.
    While the research makes interesting reading and does make some valid observations, it doesn’t take into account what is, in our view, the most important success factor of any mobile application: customer satisfaction.
    Instead it focuses largely on app features, looking at whether banks’ apps provide multimedia content, corporate information or product information. These kinds of things may excite the app developers and the banks’ top brass, who can pat themselves on the back as they look at the long checklist of all the things their app can do – but they don’t excite the customers. Can you remember the last time you cursed your bank’s app for not containing any videos?
    How do we know this? Because we spoke to an awful lot of retail banking customers while we were developing the iOS and Android smartphone apps for Nationwide Building Society (http://www.globalbankingandfinance.com/Banking/Nationwide-Case-Study-%E2%80%93-Mobile-Banking.html ). These, incidentally, aren’t included in the MyPrivateBanking research, presumably because Nationwide isn’t technically classed as a bank. We didn’t just cram in all the features we could think of: instead, we spent a long time working with these people to find out what they really want from a mobile banking app. The answer was not lots of features – they wanted a small number of things, encased in a world-class user experience. That’s why Nationwide’s apps don’t have feature-lists the length of your arm. They do the handful of things that customers really want, and they do them really well.
    Risky? Well because the Nationwide apps weren’t included in the research, we don’t know how they would have fared on this scale. But what we do know is that Nationwide’s mobile banking app is far and away the highest rated mobile banking app of the major UK current account providers on both the iOS and Android stores (see https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/nationwide-mobile-banking/id542355130?mt=8 and https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.uk.Nationwide.Mobilehl=en ). It scores an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars for all versions on iOS, where the Capital One iOS app – rated #1 by MyPrivateBanking – scores 3 out of 5 at the time of writing (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/capital-one-mobile/id407558537?mt=8 ). Features aplenty it may have, but on their own, they don’t necessarily translate into the most important measure of all – customer satisfaction.