Barclays takes the top spot in Forrester’s 2014 UK mobile banking functionality review, overtaking last year’s leader, NatWest and closely followed by Santander and Lloyds Bank. Using Forrester’s Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark methodology, the new research evaluates the mobile offerings of the seven largest retail banks in the UK — Barclays, The Co-operative Bank, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Nationwide, NatWest, and Santander — across more than 35 criteria.

Overall, UK banks score well where it matters most to customers — across balance checking, transaction history search, and basic money movement. But even here there’s room to improve with better search capabilities, future-dated payments, and the ability to add a payee in-app. The new research also urges UK banks to differentiate their mobile offerings from disruptors and potential disruptors like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, PayPal, OnTrees, and WhatsApp, by delivering convenience in context. 

“It’s no secret that UK banks were slow to take mobile banking seriously,” writes Forrester Analyst Stephen Walker in his blog post. However, the research suggests all that is changing. “Some of last year’s laggards have overtaken last year’s leaders, and many UK banks now offer mobile sales functionality — ahead even of their peers internationally,” Walker adds.

In a complementary mobile services review of 11 retail banks across Europe, written by Forrester Vice President and Research Director Benjamin Ensor, Turkey’s Garanti Bank takes the lead, followed by Spain’s La Caixa and Poland’s mBank. “Having delivered the basics, European banks should now work to improve mobile self-service features, offer money management tools, cross-sell additional products and services through mobile devices, and use the context of each customer’s situation to increase the relevance of information, offers, and alerts,” according to Ensor. The banks in the European review included: BNP Paribas and Société Générale in France, Deutsche Postbank in Germany, Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit in Italy, ING Bank in the Netherlands, Bank Millennium and mBank in Poland, BBVA and la Caixa in Spain, and Garanti Bank in Turkey.