Mobile apps have become the main touchpoint of banking relationships for millions of people and the starting point for many financial decisions and activities. Forrester data shows that 52% of Italian and 42% of French online adults have done their banking on a mobile website or app in the past month. And mobile experiences impact business results: A good digital experience is an important factor for European customers choosing a current account provider and a big driver of overall customer experience (CX). Our research shows that CX leaders grow revenue faster than CX laggards, cut costs, reduce risk, and can charge more for their products.

To find out how effectively European banks are meeting customers’ expectations, we reviewed the mobile apps of seven leading retail banks as well as one fast-growing neobank for both functionality and user experience: BBVA, BNP Paribas, CaixaBank, Crédit Mutuel, Garanti BBVA, Intesa Sanpaolo, N26, and UniCredit. This Digital Experience Review™ is an evolution of Forrester’s Industry Wave™ evaluations written in 2017, 2018, and 2019 and can be used to compare best practices year over year. In fact, we’ve been benchmarking mobile banking apps at Forrester for over a decade now. This year, we scored banks’ mobile apps across 23 functionality criteria and 25 user experience (UX) criteria. We combined this research with findings from unmoderated usability testing with 56 customers. Our research found that:

  • BBVA and Intesa Sanpaolo lead by delivering easy and effective mobile banking. BBVA had the best overall score in our review and was the leader in both digital functionality and user experience. CaixaBank, meanwhile, earned the second-highest score on features and functionality, and Intesa Sanpaolo earned the second-highest score on user experience.
  • Some European banks achieved almost perfect functionality scores. European banks generally do better on functionality than UX. They have been busy enhancing their mobile app features, with many achieving great scores for their money movement, self-service, and assisted-service functionality. But on the user experience side, many users told us they struggle to find the information they are looking for and want contextual help to accomplish simple tasks. Leading banks have made efforts to improve their apps’ navigation and content to match customers’ task flows, which requires taking a customer-journey approach and applying UX best practices.
  • European banks are treating mobile as the primary hub for engagement. Leading banks provide personalized, human-first experiences at scale. Banks are using personalization and customer context to market financial products and services that meet customers’ need for better financial health. They use a range of capabilities such as notifications, conversational interfaces, and analytics to create mobile experiences that are tailored to the individual’s engagement preferences.
  • COVID-19 has forced banks to extend the range of their mobile banking services. Some 13% of French and 19% of Italian online adults accessed their financial accounts through a mobile app for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic. Banks that offer a broad range of services that cover the entire customer lifecycle — and have adopted inclusive design principles to create experiences that are easy, effective, and emotionally positive for all customers — are seeing the return on their investment.

We are sharing five best practices and actionable tips to improve your mobile banking experience in a complimentary guide, download it now to uncover them. 

To learn more about best practices for deploying best in class banking apps, Forrester clients can also check out our new report: “The Forrester Digital Experience Review™: European Mobile Banking Apps, Q4 2020” and “The Forrester Digital Experience Review™: UK Mobile Banking Apps, Q4 2020.”

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