It’s mid-July 2020, and the world is a very different place than it was six and a half months ago. Just think of the ways we now interact with each other, carry out our daily activities, and buy and pay for products and services.

How we bank has also changed dramatically. With social distancing rules and “no cash” transactions, the impact of the pandemic on payments and banking is complex — and long-lasting. ATM usage and branch traffic are way down, while contactless payments and digital banking services have increased dramatically. COVID-19 has forced Australian consumers to adopt digital banking, and this change is here to stay.

A number of Australian banks are well-poised to serve digitally empowered consumers. Our latest report, the Forrester Digital Experience Review ™: Australian Mobile Banking Apps, Q3 2020, evaluates how well-prepared Australian banks are to meet customers’ expectations.

This year we evaluated the mobile apps of Australia’s big four banks: ANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CommBank), National Australia Bank (NAB), and Westpac; we also included Australian neobank 86 400 for the first time. We found that:

  • CommBank is Australia’s leader in usability, functionality, and overall digital experience for the fourth consecutive year. Overall, Australian banks do well in account management and assisted services. Most Australian banks do well at giving customers a single view of all their accounts with the bank and enabling them to search their transactions and dispute a transaction. NAB helps users manage alerts by giving them control over their notifications, allowing customers to select a day and time to receive them.
  • Australian banks hit the mark with intuitive, interactive apps. Most of the Australian banks we reviewed provide great UX, employing clear navigational structures, contrasting color schemes, and effective use of headers and subheaders to keep users oriented at all times. 86 400 stays on brand by providing relevant, effective, and engaging retailer icons for bill payments, thereby creating a more personal relationship with customers.
  • Consumers are under growing financial pressure and are looking to their banks for help. In fact, 42% of Australian online adults have seen their income negatively impacted by COVID-19. Australian consumers have become increasingly concerned about their financial position, but only a handful of banks we reviewed are able to help with supportive money management tools like identifying potential savings, building a savings goal, or providing a visual tool to see spending behavior.

Our 2020 review also highlighted some leading best practices that consumers will increasingly come to expect from their bank, including:

  • Personalised recommendations. CommBank notifies customers when their tax refund has been deposited and suggests they put it toward paying off existing debt. 86 400 analyzes customers’ electricity bill payments; its “utility switch” feature helps customers find the best rate and change providers — all within the app. ANZ’s Spendi lets customers set up daily, weekly, or monthly budgets with emojis to help keep spending on track. As customers spend, they see an update on their budget balance with reminders of how much they have left. If customers spend beyond their budget, they see a worried emoji telling them they need to revisit their set goal.
  • Effective search. NAB’s search result relevance is the best among its peers; real-time filtering and keyword highlighting reassure customers that they’re getting the most accurate information. Westpac also excels at ensuring that search is visible and accessible from all parts of the app; it allows customers to follow through and take action straight away.

Forrester clients can read the full report here or reach out to us by emailing to request an inquiry call.