Mobile apps have become the channel of choice for millions of Europeans, even more so since COVID-19. Forrester data shows that some 40% of French, 54% of Italian, and 54% of UK online adults have done their banking on a smartphone — via either the bank’s mobile website or app — in the past month. And so in the face of rising customer expectations, new challengers, and rapidly changing technology, banks have to get mobile experiences right.

To find out how effectively banks are meeting customers’ expectations, we reviewed the mobile apps of 13 European banking brands in June and July of 2021 for both functionality and user experience: BBVA, Boursorama, Danske Bank, ING, Intesa Sanpaolo, Lunar, Monzo, N26, NatWest, PKO Bank Polski, Revolut, Santander, and Société Générale. We selected leading retail banks as well as four fast-growing neobanks.

BBVA And Intesa Sanpaolo Lead With Near-Perfect Apps

BBVA and Intesa had the best overall scores in our review and were the leaders in both digital functionality and user experience. Santander earned the second-highest score on features and functionality, and NatWest earned the second-highest score on user experience. BBVA stood out in particular for its Bconomy features that forecast account balances and help customers improve their financial well-being with personalized guidance. Intesa Sanpaolo’s fully redesigned app also offers multiple financial well-being tools and presents a differentiated and strong user experience that makes banking accessible to everyone.

Traditional Banks Are Challenging Neobanks On Speed And Agility

Many banks redesigned or launched brand-new apps this year or are in the process of doing so. Those traditional banks that invest in design and engineering talent, state-of-the-art technology, and modern development and delivery techniques can offer better mobile experiences and go as fast as neobanks … if not faster. While Lunar, Monzo, N26, and Revolut did well in our evaluation, they were overtaken on mobile experience by incumbents such as BBVA, Intesa Sanpaolo, Santander, and NatWest.

Sustainable Products Made An Appearance Across Multiple Apps

Values-based consumers want their spending to have a positive impact. The banking industry is no exception. Leading banks are offering customers sustainable banking products, helping them understand and lower their carbon footprint, and connecting regular banking activities to positive actions. For example, Lunar lets customers donate a small percentage of each card payment to Project Blue, an initiative to reduce plastic waste in the oceans, whereas BBVA offers multiple sustainable financial products such as green loans, mortgages, and cards and tips on how to become more energy-efficient at home.

Forrester clients can learn more about mobile banking best practices from our new report, The Forrester Digital Experience Review™: European Mobile Banking Apps, Q3 2021, and listen to our on-demand webinar, 2021 European Mobile Banking Apps Review. Feel free to schedule a call with us through our inquiry system.