March 2023 UK Banking App Rankings and Insights

Executive Summary‚Äč 

The March 2023 UK Banking App Insights session covers off the overall Engaged Customer Score performance rankings for Banking Apps. This month we and dive deeper into the performance challenges and opportunities for Barclays, HSBC and Nationwide Building Society.

March was full of slight but significant changes in the Banking Apps rankings for the UK segment.

Starling remains a solid leader at the top of the Engaged Customer Score peaking at 4.75 and fiishing the month at 4.69> Starling continues recovering consistently from their dip in November last year.

Monese performance continues to fluctuate and hasn't been above 3 in a while, they need to act on fixing those issues in order to get their scores up and deliver a consistent customer and user experience.

We dig deeper into Barclays, HSBC and Nationwide and the changes they have been going through that have impacted their scores in the past month so make sure you watch the full video above.


Barclays (Featured in the video)

Barclays has seen a significant drop in their score during March, going from a 4.1 down to a 3.4 due to reliability issues. These issues were caused by the release of a new version of the app (2.74.1) that hasn't been performing well for customers, who have reported it constantly crashes after the update.


Nationwide (Featured in the Video)

Nationwide has had a slight drop of 0.2 in the past month, with one of their features performing poorly and causing trouble for users: the Payee References issues have appeared repeatedly, bringing their score down. Though it might not seem like a major drop, it needs to be addressed right away.


HSBC (Featured in the video)


HSBC has picked up and gone from a 3.7 to 4.1 in the Engaged Customer Score after introducing new features and functionalities that had a positive impact, receiving great feedback from customers and improving overall customer experience.




Video Transcript


00:05 - Intro by Glenn

01:05 - UK Challengers Overview

02:17 - SURF Analysis Chart: Barclays

03:43 - Engaged Customer Score

05:46 - SURF Analysis chart: HSBC

07:18 - SURF Analysis Chart: Nationwide

08:33 - Final words by Glenn

00:05 - Intro by Glenn

00:05 - Glenn: Hi everybody, welcome back to another Touchpoint Group Banking App Insights Session. This, for the UK Banks looking at March 2023, and we're really going to focus on a really a tale of three banks this month. We've got Barclays who have introduced a new update that is really not performing well, I think that's update 2.74.1, some challenges there that they need to overcome, we've got HSBC which have finally been making some really really positive moves in the upward direction and Nationwide we're going to be looking at some of the Functionality issues that are causing them a couple of problems but with Tony Patrick, as usual, we will dive deep and lift the lid on what is actually the story behind those moves. Tony, over to you.

00:51 - Tony: Yeah, thank you, Glenn. Great. Look, as usual we'll just jump in straight away and actually see what's going on and look at the scores to start with. Let's just jump straight in.


01:05 - UK Challengers Overview

Just jumping in here, one of the things we can see here, is that -these is the... Challengers and essentially there's not much movement here, it's fairly flat, although we get the likes of Monese jumping around a fair bit month on month. They obviously need to move up a level. They haven't been above 3 for a long time and the likes of at the top here...

We've got Starling, nicely from that slight downward movement in November, they've had like slight increases time on time, they're getting towards... that level of 4.75 which sort of seems improbable, but they're getting towards that. Some movements across the board there.

Let's just step into, though... some interesting numbers here. I'll add in HSBC just so we can see it, because it does change our scale because of the issues they had middle of last year, and you can see there actually with HSBC, they did have a bit of a pickup in March and we'll explore that in a moment, but if I hide that to get our scale back in perspective, what I can see, which is obvious here, the elephant in the room here is Barclays. The massive drop for Barclays from February to March, What's happened there?

Let's just jump into that and find out why, because that's an important thing to understand.


02:17 - SURF Analysis Chart: Barclays

First of all, this particular view here is looking at what we call our SURF Analysis.

Looking at problems in these areas: Security and Authentication, Usability, Reliability and Functionality. Where are the problems occurring? If you get these things right your score can do really well, get them wrong, your score can drop in the same way that Barclays has done here. They've gone from a score of around 4.1 down to a score of 3.4. Clearly some issues across the board.

One of the things we can see -the numbers we're seeing here, so this 32.6 is what happened in March. 33% of customers giving this feedback, talked about some sort of Reliability issue for Barclays -that, has doubled from the previous month. Similarly for all these other measures they have doubled, and obviously doubling is bad when these are all pain points.

Clearly there's problems coming up. Unreliable App is an issue. Let's just jump into that briefly and see what's going on, because in here we can actually see what customers are saying down to the detail. In here we can actually see things they're saying since the last update. "the apps very unstable keeps crashing... It crashes a lot... It shuts down..." Clearly people are talking about this new update is causing an issue for them.

Let's step in further and have a look at what's actually going on.


03:43 - Engaged Customer Score

This is the Engaged Customer Score. That score we saw previously, but this is down to weeks for Barclays. We can see the week commencing the 6th of March is when it really hit rock bottom here, but let's look at this in terms of days and just see what happens.

When did this really kick in?

We see there at around the 1st of March it was okay, 2nd or 3rd it starts to drop away and particularly we get down to that 5th of March it drops away definitely.

It's clearly going from a level around 4 and above, down to around 3.2. Clearly, problems have happened at that point in time, but what happened to that point in time? Let's have a look.

These are the app releases coming through from Barclays and we can see exactly that time period we're talking about from that 1st to the 5th of March, look what starts to pick up, this new app release of 2.74.1 and that's the one that started to cause these issues.

Prior to that, the previous versions are getting nice scores of about 4.3. This one, if I mouse over it here... average scores are 3.3. This is the one that's now dominating most of March and it's the one that's causing those issues. I can click on that and understand a bit of detail, but again, this has actually just been caused by that update that's caused those major problems across time.

Let's just move away from that for a moment and focus on some other areas.

We saw that HSBC has picked up so we'll review that in a moment, another movement out of here is Nationwide which has dropped away slightly only by about 0.2, but it's enough to sort of go well what's going on here, I need to understand that so I can make some improvements.

The likes of TSB, I won't focus too much on that, but we can see that they have dropped away and inconsistencies is probably... One of the things I can see here if they actually performed as well as they did in January and continued that high, that would be really positive they could be up there with some of the top players. And the likes of Monzo is always just slightly below others. Just in terms of time, let's focus on a couple of things today. First of all, HSBC, let's have a quick look at that.


05:46 - SURF Analysis chart: HSBC

We can see there that score has gone from 3.7 up to 4.1. Yes, very positive. We can see it has actually moved forward. One of the things we can see down here is... the drop in these issues, Functionality issues, have dropped from about 17% to 13%. Usability issues have dropped from about 17% to about 10%. Very positive move forward there.

One of the things we can also see is what they've actually done so what have they done across that time period. One of the things they did do in February is added a Spending Insights Feature.

That was a really positive move for them because this is now impacting that score we're seeing right now. In February we didn't see much of that impact because not every customer was using it, but into March, they've started to use that feature.

We can see that in here, when we have a look at -this is the version history, and we're looking here at version 3.31.2 is when that launch happened sort of -just prior to that of course, but it's coming through into 3.3 1.2 and we can see here on the right: "Great app to keep tracking of spending and bills... Within the Spending Overview being available to permanently assign a category... It's great for me" so there's really positive movement in terms of what's possible when you add new features in. Tracking those features as they launch and how customers feel is really amazing, and we can see here that's had a positive impact and lifted that score for HSBC.


07:18 - SURF Analysis Chart: Nationwide

Let's have a look at what else is going on. One of the other things we're seeing is -this is the score for Nationwide. One of the things we've seen here, is the score was sitting up nicely at 4.2%, it's dropped down to 4.0% still high, but that drop you need to understand that otherwise, that will continue, you need to be on top of these things that are going on.

We can see there's functionality issues have increased slightly, it's not much of a change here, but just keeping on top of these things. One of the things I've looked at on the right here, is actually looking at this topic around Poor App Viewing Transactions.

One of the things that keeps coming through, is: "There's no way to edit a reference..." These payee references always coming through. "Can't change a payee reference... Can't change the pay reference..." Lots of information in here about this is one particular thing they can fix to make a major change for this particular area, about viewing transactions.

For Nationwide at least, one thing there they can fix and obviously exploring more we can find some others for HSBC, they've done really well in making that extra Functionality which makes a major difference for customers. HSBC is on the right track. Nationwide, need to fix some problems to fix them inside here as well. Thank you, Glenn.


08:33 -Final words by Glenn

08:33 - Glenn: Well, all that jammed into 8 and a half minutes. You're a legend as usual, Tony. Thank you very much. And if you want to talk about your bank and you want to deal a little bit deeper, now you can see the level of insights that you can get, feel free to sing out and hit us up. Have a great week.