RBI 50 – The best of the best incumbent banks mobile apps ranked

As branch networks continue to diminish, smartphone banking apps are fast becoming the most convenient way for consumers to conduct their banking needs. Are the incumbent banks rising to the challenge?  Briony Richter looks at the ratings.

Traditional banks are under more pressure than ever before to provide seamless and efficient digital services as more customers move away from traditional banking methods and opt for digital channels to conduct their banking needs. Incumbent banks now have the challenge of maintaining and improving a digital presence to hold on to their customer base.

The table aggregates user rankings from the Apple and Android app stores to find an overall rating of mobile banking apps. Below are the top 50 incumbent retail banks by rating.

Traditional banks

Poland’s Bank PKO achieved the highest overall rating at 4.8 with its mobile banking app, IKO. The app provides all the basic banking services such as checking balances, making transfers, as well as allowing customers to withdraw money from ATM’s without a bank card.

Speaking to RBI, Łukasz Kuc, head of mobile and internet banking bureau at PKO, states: “For almost two years IKO has been within the top rated mobile banking applications in Poland. Every single day we work on boosting the IKO app, adding other features that are expected and desired by its users, improving the apps ergonomics in reaction to customers’ comments and notifications. This fantastic rating is a result of many small steps made systematically and consequently in our organisation. We are the best example that shows operating on a large-scale can go hand-in-hand with excellent quality.”

Just behind at an overall rating of 4.6, are Chase, Capital One, Bank of America, UBS, Emirate NBD, Sberbank, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group and Garanti.

The BofA app is celebrated for its speed by users. Speed and responsiveness are massively important for customers in being able to carry out their banking tasks effectively.

Barclays mobile banking app is praised for its security and response time. One reviewer on Google Play, states: “This is the best and most secure banking app I've come across. If your internet is syncing other apps or is to slow, it will let you log in for security reasons. Sometimes it may give you an error code that can be looked up. It enables your phone to use NFC using this app.”

With Emirates NBD, users enjoyed the simplicity of the app, commenting on how easy it is to navigate through but a few would like to see more payment options on the app.

HSBC’s UK mobile banking app has very mixed reviews with an overall rating of 3.8. On the app store it hits 4.8 with reviewers enjoying the new digital experience and that migration from the old app was relatively hassle-free. However for Android, the app sinks far lower at 2.7. Reviewers note that the app is much faster than before but that is where the positives stop.

The biggest issue for Android user is that they still don’t have fingerprint login, a feature than most other banking apps have installed. Further many on Apple and Google Play highlight that they cannot see pending transactions.

None of the banks rating fell under 3.0 however; coming in last is Siam Commercial Thailand that ranks overall at 3.3. Android users highlight the slow response and pop-up advertising, with one reviewer saying on the 8th March 2018:

“Poorly designed, limited functionality. Now they have added pop-up advertising. Only seems to be able to connect with the back end server using mobile internet not wifi.” 

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Consumers are increasingly willing to make important financial decisions with a tap of an app and manage all aspects of their lives on the go. With the standard already high, incumbent banks will have to keep pushing digital innovation to keep up with the expectations of an ever-increasing, digitally-focused population that now expects a unified experience on any smartphone or electronic device available.