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 53% of UK 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 UK customers when choosing a current account provider and a big driver of overall customer experience (CX). Our research shows CX leaders grow revenue faster than CX laggards, cut costs, reduce risk, and can charge more for their products.

To find out how effectively UK banks are meeting customers’ expectations, we reviewed the mobile apps of six UK banking brands for both functionality and user experience: HSBC, Lloyds, Monzo, Nationwide, NatWest, and Revolut. This Digital Experience Review™ is an evolution of Forrester’s Industry Wave™ evaluations written in 2017 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 24 functionality criteria and 25 user experience (UX) criteria. We combined this research with findings from unmoderated usability testing with 60 customers. Our research found that:

  • NatWest leads by delivering easy and effective mobile banking. NatWest offers the best functionality of all the UK banking brands in our evaluation, leading in particular on assisted-service features. These include a secure in-app chat managed by its virtual assistant Cora, a good set of account alerts and notifications, and extensive branch and ATM guidance. NatWest also provides insightful money management tools, offering automated transaction categorization that customers can manage and modify, enhancing transactions with additional information, and providing a best-in-class credit score tool.
  • UK banking apps have fallen behind European apps in terms of functionality. UK banking brands need to better balance UX and functionality. Except for challengers Monzo and Revolut, we found a large discrepancy in the quality of user experience and features. Overall, UK banking brands offer a good user experience. However, to differentiate, they need to invest more in functionality, expanding the sometimes limited range of features.
  • Leading UK banks are starting to treat mobile as the primary hub for engagement. Many early mobile banking experiences replicated online banking on a much smaller screen. Now, leading banks use a range of capabilities such as notifications, conversational interfaces, and analytics to create mobile experiences that are tailored to the individual and his or her engagement preferences.
  • COVID-19 has forced banks to extend the range of their mobile banking services. Some 12% of UK online adults accessed their financial accounts through a mobile app for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic. Banking brands that offer a broad range of services that cover the entire customer lifecycle and adopt inclusive design principles create experiences that are emotionally positive for all their customers.

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 reports: “The Forrester Digital Experience Review™: UK Mobile Banking Apps, Q4 2020” and “The Forrester Digital Experience Review™: European Mobile Banking Apps, Q4 2020.”

If you have more questions, feel free to schedule a call with us through our inquiry system.