Mobile banking applications have become the digital hub of the customer experience. They are an absolute necessity for the customers and a preferred destination to exchange value between clients and banks. Forrester data shows that 77% of metro Indian online adults have done their banking on a mobile banking app on their smartphone in the past month.

A mobile banking app can be powerful and transformational if done well and used to the fullest, or dull and highly ineffective if not. Given the importance of mobile apps, how well do Indian banks match their customers’ expectations when it comes to mobile experiences?

To find out, we reviewed the mobile apps of five leading Indian banks for both functionality and user experience: Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and State Bank of India (SBI). We do this exercise annually. This year, we evaluated banks’ mobile apps on 27 functionality criteria and 25 user experience (UX) criteria, revealing best practices in many categories, and published our findings in this report. You can use this report in combination with past Forrester Digital Experience Review™ evaluations of Indian banks to compare best practices over the years. Overall, our research found that:

  • ICICI Bank offers the best overall digital experience. ICICI had the best overall score in our review and was the leader in both digital functionality and user experience. Kotak Mahindra, meanwhile, earned the second-highest score on features and functionality, and Axis Bank earned the second-highest score on user experience.
  • Indian banks have improved their overall UX but can do better. The UX of Indian banking apps has improved significantly since we last evaluated them in 2020. Many have newer, cleaner interfaces that are easier to navigate and simplify payments. They do so by offering a combined search of registered payees irrespective of the payee’s bank. But key concerns remain. New functionality feels bolted on to older parts of the app and often has a completely different look and feel.
  • Indian banks must prioritize offering money management capabilities. Banks are doing too little to help customers understand their spending and debts, create useful budgets, receive personalized insights, get proactive advice, track their financial health, and monitor their financial lives.
  • Indian banks are trailing behind in meeting customers’ shifting needs and expectations. Holding on to customers is hard. It calls for in-app features and experiences tailored to the individual so that you can build loyalty and generate revenue. We recalibrate our review criteria to align with bank customers’ shifting needs, behaviors, and expectations. No bank scored higher than 60 in the user functionality assessment.

Ask yourself, “How well do we understand our customers?”

Banks must study the behavior and expectations of their customers to design an app that meets most of their needs. If you’re thinking about developing or upgrading your mobile banking app, don’t let these crucial insights slip by.

Check out our new report: The Forrester Digital Experience Review™: Indian Mobile Banking Apps, Q3 2022. In the report, we have identified best-in-class examples in different areas of functionality and user experience at each of the banks we reviewed. Our research also uncovers a range of best practices.

Want to learn more about the Digital Experience Review? Schedule an inquiry with me for user functionality and Amit Bhatia for user experience.