Best of the best digital apps

Digital-first banks continue to gain momentum across the world. The need to conveniently manage money opens up a large space in the financial sector for these branchless banks to offer innovative and simple banking solutions through their digital channels, writes Briony Richter

Digital Banks          Total number              iOS            Android           Overall 

Revolut 
monese 
N26
Chime
Monzo 
Gobank
Millenium Bank
USAA
Simple
Finn
Starling
first direct
digibank Indonesia
CBD Now
neat
KOHO
Alipay
LOOT
Tangerine

79,708
10,465
14,760
9,409
3,531
5,301
28,758
124,821
9,521
66
727
104,454
5,559
286
49
204
39,713
424
7,538

4.9
4.7
4.8
4.8
4.7
4.5
4.2
4
4
4.3
4.2
4.8
4
4
n/a
4.2
4.2
3.7
3.6

4.7
4.6
4.4
4.3
4.2
4.3
4.6
4.6
4.5
n/a
4.1
3.3
4.1
4.1
4.1
3.8
3.4
3.9
3.7

4.8
4.7
4.6
4.6
4.5
4.4
4.4
4.3
4.3
4.3
4.2
4.1
4.1
4.1
4.1
4
3.8
3.7
3.7

TOP 20 RATING

The table aggregates user rankings from the Apple and Android app stores to find an overall rating. Out of the 30 digital banks, 17 had a rating of 4.0 or above. However, none of the digital banks dropped below an overall rating of 2.0 out 5.0.

Ranking number one is the UK banking startup, Revolut, achieving 4.8 out of 5.0 overall. Headlining, ‘better than your bank’ on the Android site, this startup is no stranger to embracing new ways to make banking easier for its customers. Reviews celebrate its simplicity and usefulness as both a primary and secondary account.

Monese, N26, Chime and Monzo all rank at 4.5 or above. The reviews for Monese on the Android store are positive saying the app is without hassle and easy to activate. On the Apple store, there are reviews that highlight difficulty with customer service but on the whole, the reviews for Monese indicate high levels of customer satisfaction.

Speaking to RBI, Ole Mahrt, head of product at Monzo, says: “Our goal is to give people total visibility and control of their money, and everything that touches it. To do that, we're working hard to understand how our users really live and use their money, and build a product that solves their problems and caters to their needs. 

“But our products only part of it: we communicate clearly and transparently with our customers, provide them with fast, friendly support, involve them closely in important decision-making, and use their feedback to guide our product development.” 

Starling Bank achieved an overall rating of 4.2. The bank received its initial licence in 2016 and started bringing on customers to open current accounts through its app in March 2017. As well as providing its customers with real-time balance check, the app has a money management tool to support customers in breaking down their spending habits.

Anne Boden, CEO and founder of Starling Bank, states: “Starling continue to lead the pack, offering our customers the best financial products through our Marketplace and bringing to life the benefits of Open Banking.

“This time last year, few people would have predicted the scale of growth for digital banks and in 2018 we will continue to see exponential growth in the sector. At Starling we are looking forward to expanding our customer base across Europe and announcing new partnerships that will give our customers control of their money like never before.”

Falling behind are Atom, Pepper and ME Bank all ranking under 3.0. Customers of Atom note complications with updates, facial recognition and the apps interface.

Katy Ringsdore, head of PR & Internal Communications at Atom, highlights Atoms’ commitment to providing great customer service. She says: “Over the last 18 months, we have designed and implemented an award winning multi-channel voice of the Customer Programme that captures feedback across all customer touch points including Contact Centre, Website, In App and social. In January 2017, we launched a Customer Panel, to ensure all changes we implement have been fully tested by verified Atom customers.”

As branchless banks, digital channels are the only way they have to engage with customers so it’s crucial that improvements are made to the apps in order to interact proactively.