Great app expectations

  • By Christine St Anne

While some banks have rolled out ‘feature-heavy’ apps other banks are driving their NPS by focusing on the basics but with an emphasis on the user experience. 

Latest research from RFi Group has highlighted that the benefits of rolling out innovative new app features but at the same time the user experience is crucial.

The CommBank 4.0 app was launched in mid last year. At the time of the launch CBA’s then chief digital officer Pete Steel said it was an ‘unbank-like app’. 

“It will have a fresh new look and feel….with the latest version making  greater use of artificial intelligence and features all “aimed at keeping money in customers’ wallets” – including smart alerts, a goal tracker, a cash flow view and spend tracker.

For RFi Group general manager Kate Wilson, Australia’s largest lender is getting it right with its app on a number of fronts.

“The app has a range of innovative features that support savings, and our  research shows that since the app update CBA customers are more likely to agree the CBA offers them features that incentivise customers to stick to a savings goal and offer tools, hints and tips to help them save effectively,” Wilson said.

“Consequently these features have driven an increase in CBA’s NPS,” Wilson said.

At the same time, CBA has a solid cohort of digital savvy customers who expect such features to be the norm. 

In comparison, ING may not have all the “bells and whistles” offered by CBA but what underpins the digital bank’s offering is the customer experience. 

“They cover all the hygiene points that they need to have around managing key products.” 

Wilson also acknowledges that they do have a young tech savvy customer base, who have high expectations. 

But given their customer base is skewered to deposit products, ING’s app is focused on functionality and simplicity. 

Rolling out app features, banks are no longer just competing with the likes of CBA and ING but also neobanks who are essentially app-based banks

“Comparing the customer experience with CBA and ING’s apps points to the opportunities presented by differing approaches. There is the option to adopt an approach like CBA with all its interesting and innovative features which also drives NPS. Alternatively, you can go down the ING route and deliver a simple app but do it really well and focus on the user experience.” 

While not directly correlated with app NPS, offering a range of app features will increasingly be expected by customers, and will be important for competing with neo-banks.

“Customers are increasingly multi-banked. They are using more than one app,” Wilson said. 

Therefore, in rolling out app features, banks are no longer just competing with the likes of CBA and ING but also neobanks who are essentially app-based banks.

In fact, Up has a high NPS underpinned by its functionality, according to RFi Group research. 

“We also see Up picking up a high proportion of neo-bank customers.” 

The neobank also seems to have a highly engaged cohort of customers who are actively developing their own products off the back of its newly introduced APIs.  

With a one-year track record already garnered, 86 400 has recorded more than 650,000 transactions and balance updates on the app each day

“It’s still early days but evidence to date suggests that these neobanks are making an impact.”