Spanish bank BBVA has been ranked the number one mobile banking app in the world by Forrester.
In its 2017 Global mobile banking benchmark study, Forrester ranked the mobile service offerings of 53 banks across the world.
Lloyds Bank was the highest-ranked UK bank (11), with Barclays (18), Nationwide (21), NatWest (23), Santander UK (28) and HSBC (34) following.
“BBVA has leapfrogged its peers with unsurpassed functionality and good usability. Over the past three years, the bank has made remarkable improvements to its mobile banking functionalities, moving from being a relative laggard in Europe in 2014 to become the top bank worldwide this year,” said Forrester.
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The BBVA mobile app has more than three million subscribers in Spain who use it to interact with the bank through their mobile phones, which is 30% more than in December 2016.
In May 2017, there were more than 56 million interactions with BBVA using the smartphone app, compared with 23.8 million in May 2016. In total, BBVA has around 19.9 million digital customers worldwide.
Gonzalo Rodriguez, head of digital transformation at BBVA Spain, said the increased use of digital channels is due to the constant updating of mobile channels. “This development never stops and our customers’ new needs oblige us to continue working on new functionalities,” he said.
“Initiating a mortgage application – just like many other products and services – can now be done from a smartphone. This is something that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. In fact, as of May, the smartphone accounts for more digital sales than the website.”
Forrester praised BBVA’s strategy to put customers at the centre of its offering rather than just adding functionality. “Many banks claim to be customer-obsessed, but just a handful are,” it said.
“Becoming customer-obsessed is not about focusing on adding new mobile banking functionality, it is about putting customers at the heart of what the bank does. For instance, banks such as BBVA promote money management as the bank’s main online banking dashboard, not as a separate tool or service,” it added.
Mobile banking apps today have broad functionality and some emerging challenger banks are mobile-app only. One example is UK bank Starling, which offers current accounts through customers’ smartphones and uses the latest mobile and data technologies to support digital lifestyles.
But traditional banks in the UK will have an advantage if recent research from the British Bankers Association is anything to go by, which revealed that branch networks are an important compliment to mobile apps.
The survey of 2,000 UK consumers showed that 68% thought a bank branch was essential when opening a current account, compared with 25% who favoured a mobile app.