Online banking is currently the most frequently used banking touchpoint in Europe, with 70% of European online adults now using online banking on a desktop or laptop at least once a month.[i] Most people use online banking for routine tasks such as checking their transaction history, transferring money between accounts, and paying bills. But online banking now also serves more complex needs as customers increasingly use online banking to research, buy, or apply for financial products.

As online banking becomes an everyday part of many customers’ financial lives, digital banking strategy executives need to deliver online banking services that meet and exceed customers’ current needs and expectations, anticipate their future needs, and help them achieve financial well-being.

To help digital banking teams improve their online banking services, Forrester used its Digital Banking Functionality Benchmark methodology to assess the secure websites of 13 retail banks in Europe. We’ve just published the findings in our “2017 European Online Banking Functionality Benchmark” report.

Here are a few highlights from this report:

  • The Spanish bank BBVA came out on top, earning the highest overall score among the 13 European retail banks. The firm creates value for customers with outstanding money movement functionality, strong marketing and sales functionality, sophisticated money management tools, and innovative financial advice features. BBVA differentiates itself in the market by moving away from a product-centric approach toward a more customer-centric approach: Leveraging the power of big data, the bank uses the customer’s context and financial data to offer personalized tools that help customers better manage their financial lives — thereby delivering a more engaging digital experience.
  • Some – not all – banks provide convenient and effective self-service within online banking. Digital disruption has raised the bar on how to deliver customer service, yet many banks struggle to keep up with customer demand for effortless customer service. Leaders provide omnipresent, contextual help; let customers initiate a wide range of customer service tasks via the secure website; and provide site-wide natural language search. The Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo, for instance, recently introduced an intelligent search engine on its secure website. Using artificial intelligence for semantic analysis and natural language processing, the engine interprets customer intent and responds with the requested information or proposes relevant actions such as deposits or bill payment.
  • Leading banks help customers take action to improve their finances. Many banks now offer money management tools on their website. But to be useful, money management needs to offer guidance on what to do. mBank in Poland offers customers a retirement plan savings tool, which assesses their current contribution toward a savings goal and recommends changes needed to stay on track. mBank customers can choose between automatically rounding up their purchases to the nearest zloty and transferring the spare change to their savings goal or automatically transferring either a chosen percentage of each transaction or a fixed amount per transaction toward their savings goal.
  • Forward-looking banks deliver more personalized customer experiences. Digitally savvy customers are growing accustomed to personalized experiences that anticipate their needs and offer what they’re looking for — sometimes before they even know what that is! Customers now expect their bank to provide them with financial insights and timely, specific, and actionable recommendations that are based on an understanding of their unique financial position. BBVA’s data-driven Valora service lets customers calculate the estimated price of a property they’re looking to rent or buy, and assess whether they can afford it.

If you wish to find out about the best-in-class online banking services in Europe, I encourage you to read the report. Earlier this year, Forrester also benchmarked the largest banks’ secure websites in Canada, India, and the US.


[i] Source: Forrester Data Consumer Technographics® European Financial Services Survey, H1 2017.