Gone are the days where we need to queue up in a physical bank to conduct all of our financial needs; we can now do everything we need from handy smartphone apps. However, some businesses still treat their application equivalents as afterthoughts, without putting enough focus and attention to it. Below we have reviewed the various smartphone applications for the main UK banks.
A review of mobile apps was recently carried out by Forrester, and Lloyds secured the top spot with a score of 77 out of 100. The Lloyds business bank app has all of the most basic features, such as money transfers, but also places a good focus on more complex features such as financial product comparisons. All-in-all, it offers a streamlined and easy experience.
The Lloyds business bank app scores almost perfect 5/5’s on the iTunes Store and Google Play, but common complaints include it being slow and buggy.
The Barclays banking app is also one of the best on the market and secured second place in the review. It provides an effortless and seamless experience that makes mobile banking easy. It supports both business and personal accounts and is slick and quick to load. It’s easy to send payments and make transfers, and each account is easily separated and accessible, making it an almost perfect design.
There have been some complaints with newer versions where some features have been dropped. It no longer displays a running balance on your account activity, making it harder to track a balance between transactions. These are minor issues, but they do take away from the overall experience.
The NatWest app came third in the review, although Forrester noted that it is the best app on the market for its range of account management features. One handy feature is that it allows for the withdrawal of cash from an ATM without needing a card, by providing the user with a one-time use code.
Its service capabilities and customer enrolment features are its downfall, and are somewhat limited compared to the account management features. The app only scores 2.5/5 stars on the iTunes store, with issues of complexity or lag being commonly cited as letting the overall experience of the app down.
The Santander business bank app took fourth place, with many of the same features as the previous banking apps. Santander is attempting to be innovative, by claiming that they will be the first ones to offer international payments and wants to incorporate a virtual assistant similar to Apple’s Siri to help provide advice on spending habits.
However, the design of the Santander app lets it down. It is clunky and quite slow for the user, and so when in comparison to the Lloyd’s or Barclays’ app it doesn’t really compare.
The HSBC business bank app ranked fifth in the Forrester review, although it was given credit for being smooth and simple when it came to enrolling and logging in. It also helps by offering useful budgeting information for those that are looking for a loan.
However, it has limited service and account management features. It doesn’t fare too well on the iTunes store, with only one star. Users complain about its poor design and lack of functionality when rating it.
Banking apps as an experience
There are, of course, other banks in the UK, but the ones presented above offer the top five mobile banking experiences. The other banks’ apps, unfortunately, didn’t offer the customer enough in the way of features and seem to be treated more as afterthoughts. The Lloyd’s and Barclays’ apps came top of the pile, giving their customers a robust enough experience so that they won’t need to use browser banking again!