It can have features, be quick or reliable...do we have to choose?
Facebook today announced their partnerships with Visa and Mastercard to deliver WhatsApp payments in Brazil. We thought it relevant to look at their old mantra of “move fast and break things” but in the world of payments and banking. As readers of previous articles will know, speed and reliability are two dimensions we evaluate in our 5th edition of the mobile banking app review.
Customers have come to expect to move through a mobile app at lightning speed and their patience for clunky banking experiences is waning. As part of our extensive testing of the features and capability of the banking apps in the user-testing group, we have been monitoring the speed of development and log-in times.
The fintechs are moving at pace (and yet again Revolut top a colourful comparison chart), with speedier apps and more frequent releases. In terms of updates, those at the top, (if they continue at the rate they have started the year) are on track to release even more updates in 2020 than the previous year.
On iOS we expect an average of 31 releases for fintechs and just 14 for incumbents p.a.
Non-traditional providers in 2019 had an average of 28 updates versus 12 for traditional providers. Based on our 2020 year estimate, this gap is predicted to remain with an average of 31 releases for fintechs and 14 for incumbents. Fintechs are likely to release over double the number of updates than the traditional banking players.
These updates are not simply bug-fixes either: (although that is important to ensure a reliable app) they are delivering new features which are raising the bar significantly for everyone in the market. This is evident in the chart below which shows there are now 20 features (+5 since the last report) supported by at least two-third of the market. If you’re not releasing these things little and often, then you’re building a lot of risk into ‘big’ app releases which may also run the risk of overwhelming customers with so many new things at once.
As you can see from our feature evolution grid, there is an acceleration of items that quickly move from niche offering to a hygiene factor.
Instant is everything
Apps across the board are getting faster, with a median of 6.4 seconds (down from 7.6 in the previous study six months ago). There is a still a notable difference between the top and bottom 25%, with the quickest an average of 4.6 seconds to log-in and slowest double that at 8.1 seconds. The less said about those in the 10+ seconds club the better!
There has been an improvement in consistency with a reduction in the average standard deviation. This may be influenced, by the new apps added to the study (all fintechs) being relatively consistent to log-in. This does suggest the market standard is changing and users may no longer tolerate a slow or inconsistent app.
The log-in times for the traditional providers tend to be more inconsistent providers across most apps in each category. The cloud-native fintechs are also quicker to log-in.
On a positive note, the variation in log-in times has reduced over the previous three quarters for both fintechs and traditional providers and it will be interesting to see if this is part of a longer trend, especially with the added pressure from Covid-19.
Whilst we may have tolerances for non financial apps, banking has an expectation (especially in these current remote-based times) to be always available.
The latest mobile incidents data from the FCA shows generally there are more incidents affecting mobile banking being reported, with RBS Group and CYB showing increases over the prior six month period.
Barclays and Nationwide, however, show good stability amongst the incumbents, suffering from no FCA incidents in the last 12 months, along with Starling Bank
Barclays and Nationwide, however, show good stability amongst the incumbents, suffering from no FCA incidents in the last 12 months, along with Starling Bank. Have some of the traditional players finally got their act together with not breaking things? Now just to add the move fast bit! Easy!
We'd love to here what you think of the report - reach out on social media to any of the team with your thoughts or feedback. To find our more about how we conducted the analysis, read the post from our analyst Janine which applies to both banking apps and aggregators.
A full set of the benchmarking analysis and individual app results are available to purchase as a download from our site for just £649 +VAT. This can also be purchased through PayPal's new social button. The enhanced report contains an extensive assessment of over 40 apps representing most of the UK current account market and AISPs including established players, challenger banks and fintechs.