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Most of the leading mobile banking apps fail to deliver balanced functionality and user experiences


Digital banking leaders need to build mobile banking experiences around customer needs, empowering customers to manage their finances while reassuring them by providing support along the way. Forrester India has come up with a study titled, “The Forrester Banking Wave wherein the analysts have evaluated the mobile banking apps of seven large Indian banks – Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank, IDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and State Bank of India (SBI). These apps were evaluated on parameters like money management, functionality, self-service features, content, search and navigation, privacy and trust, among others.

Consumers in metro India have a high level of readiness for mobile interactions, making mobile the most important touchpoint for interacting with them. As per the study, a vast majority of these consumers expect firms to offer mobile apps that can help them get whatever they want in their immediate context and moment of need. Between 43% and 65% of customers of the banks evaluated in this report have used their bank’s mobile channel in the past three months.

The study stated that the ICICI Bank and Axis Bank mobile banking apps set a high bar by offering customers strong functionality and usability. However, other banks are not rising to the occasion: Their apps’ poor functionality and UX clearly indicates that they’re failing to meet customer expectations.

ICICI Bank’s mobile app is among the world’s best. The bank went from being the fourth worst mobile banking app provider globally to having the best mobile banking experience — a great example of shifting from perfect to fast. ICICI Bank’s iMobile app offers, strong transactional, self-service, and product marketing features and outdoes its peers with exceptionally strong assisted-service features. The click-to-call button in the post-login view helps customers bypass the phone banking interactive voice response system and call the relevant banking team directly.

Strong transactional and self-service features help Axis Bank serve its customers better. The bank has excellent product marketing, research, and application features. Axis customers can apply for a pre-approved credit card or compare other cards and apply from within the mobile banking app. The mobile banking app’s uncluttered appearance stands out among its peers, reducing cognitive load on customers and speeding up their work.

Money movement is among the most basic and important functions of any mobile banking app — yet only Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, SBI, and IDFC Bank do it well. Kotak Mahindra Bank does a great job of helping customers view account balances, recent transactions, upcoming bill payments, outstanding credit card balances, term deposit rates, and other information before login. Kotak Bank helps customers easily differentiate between withdrawals and deposits by not only showing them in different colors, but also clearly prefixing withdrawals with a minus sign. SBI’s app has an uncluttered look and feel. IDFC’s app offers helpful contextual in-screen information for entry fields.

India isn’t just a mobile-first economy — it’s the world’s fastest-growing market for smartphone subscribers. Nearly 400 Indian banks are vying to exploit this potential by offering mobile banking apps. On top of this, stiff competition from financial technology (fintech) and other tech giants such as Google Tez, PayTM, PhonePe, and WhatsApp makes it crucial for a bank to offer an exceptional mobile banking app to win, serve, and retain customers.

Banks that neglect their apps are putting their future business growth at risk by failing to design services that meet the changing needs of their customers. As per the report, Banks must act to reassure customers about security and privacy, make disputing a transaction easy to foster trust and customer safety, make payments easier, help customers find and use functionality quicker, help customers avoid and recover from mistakes, provide real-time access to human help, among others.

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