Westpac is the world leader in mobile banking functionality, according to a global rating from tech research firm Forrester Research.
In Forrester’s annual Global Mobile Banking Benchmark, the bank — one of Australia’s Big Four — scored an impressive 86 out of 100 in the evaluation. The global industry average was 65.
It was just ahead of last year’s winner, Spain’s CaixaBank, on 85. Commonwealth Bank and NAB both scored well; however, ANZ, fell well below the global average, with a score of only 44.
The benchmark assessed the retail mobile banking services of 46 large retail banks across four continents on 40 criteria, with a global average score of 65 out of 100.
Westpac wass strong in every category. The bank earned the highest score in the transactional features category and did particularly well in its range of touchpoints, account and money management, and marketing and sales.
It is one of the few banks to enable near-field communication (NFC) contactless mobile payments. The bank has also rolled out innovative features — such as letting customers take pictures of their credit cards to activate them.
The researcher made three key observations about the mobile banking experience in Australia:
- Westpac is the clear leader — and the most improved. Westpac received the highest overall score among the Australian banks we evaluated, earning 86 out of a possible 100 points — a score that’s even higher than last year’s. Westpac is strong in every category, delivering the basics remarkably well across a wide range of touchpoints. It has also rolled out innovative new features, such as near field communication contactless payments via “Tap & Pay” in its mobile banking app and letting customers activate a credit card by taking a picture of it.
- The other Australian banks also did well. All four banks received very good scores for range of touchpoints and transactional features. On top of offering comprehensive mobile web sites and downloadable smartphone and tablet apps, all four have made significant investments in emerging touchpoints — they enable customers to see past transactions and find ATMs and branches on the Apple Watch. CommBank is the only bank in Australia that has extended this capability to the Android Watch.
- However, the Australian banks could improve their money management and service features, Forrsters found. All four did poorly at helping their customers understand their finances and achieve their financial goals. Money management tools are virtually nonexistent — only CommBank gives customers a basic visualisation of their current account. Most banks’ service features are also weak, with poor help and search functionality. Westpac is the exception here — it added a range of alert functionality to its mobile banking app, such as the ability to provide travel notifications, report a lost or stolen card, and dispute a transaction.
Room for improvement
According to the study, “While the Australian banks offer extensive transactional features across a variety of devices, many lag in providing contextual help and offers that customers need.”
For example, they suggested that Australian digital banking teams could let customers report fraud within the mobile banking app if they detect a suspicious transaction.
“Mobile banking adoption has reached critical mass. Rapid progress in mobile technologies and consumers’ ever-increasing expectations and changing behaviour have left many banks around the world playing catch-up,” said Aurélie L’Hostis, lead author of Forrester’s 2016 global mobile banking functionality benchmark report. “In the meantime, a cluster of banks are racing forward: these banks are putting customers at the centre of their strategy, striving to anticipate customers’ emerging needs, and embracing an agile and iterative approach to speed development of new mobile banking capabilities that differentiate them from their peers.”
Of the banks reviewed, nine other banks stood out from their peers for their impressive mobile banking capabilities: CaixaBank in Spain, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) and Scotiabank in Canada, Garanti in Turkey, Bank of America in the US, Bank Zachodni WBK in Poland, Lloyds Bank in the UK, and Wells Fargo in the US.
Over the past few years, most banks have significantly improved the design and functionality of their mobile offerings. They need to continue to raise the bar to provide the best mobile banking services to their customers, however, as they are no longer competing just with each other.
According to Forrester, new digital banks and digital wallets are competing for customers by promising better digital customer experiences. “To win and retain mind share and wallet share, digital banking teams need to focus on using mobile banking not only to meet customers’ banking needs, but also to create new sources of value. This includes being helpful with digital money management tools and providing personalised and relevant offers,” the authors noted.
This article originally appeared on B&T’s sister business site www.which-50.com