September 2023 UK Banking App Rankings and Insights

 Executive Summary



The UK banking sector continues to adapt to the digital age, and the role of mobile banking apps is central to this transformation. Touchpoint Group's September 2023 Banking App Insight session, led by Glenn Marvin and Tony Patrick, sheds light on the performance dynamics of major players in the space, with a specific focus on Chase UK.


 Key Observations from the Market 


1.  Overall Performance Dynamics 

   -  Lloyd's  continues its dominant run with a consistent score nearing 4.6.

   -  Barclays, after experiencing a dip in March, is grappling to regain its past performance levels.

   -  NatWest, despite an impressive growth story, experienced setbacks post their app release in June. Their design and User Interface (UI) emerged as prominent pain points, especially after the app's relaunch.


2.  Monese and Monzo : These two entities are lagging, with Monzo dipping below the 3.4 mark over the past year. Their performance presents a stark contrast to Starling, which is a historical high-performer and often competes head-to-head with Lloyd's.


 Deep Dive into Chase UK's Performance 

Chase UK, having demonstrated significant growth over the year, emerged as the spotlight for this session:


1.  Growth Story: The bank's app score has grown from around 4.0 to 4.4 over the past year. Such progression, especially from an app already rated around 4, underscores Chase's commitment to continuous improvement.


2.  Key Improvements: 

   -  Reliability and Stability : There's been a marked progression, reducing the negative impact on scores from -0.31 to -0.19.

   -  Authentication and Logging-in : Issues have halved, signifying a better user experience.

   -  Features and Functionality : An overall downward trend in reported issues.


3.  Areas of Concern: 

   - Chase's most recent scores show slight upticks in design and UI issues, especially with aspects like "difficult to use"; "poor user interface"; and "confusing."

   - Their release cycle, notably the 2.18 version, has witnessed an uptick in reliability issues and design/UI problems, marking a deviation from their previous stellar performance.


4.  App Release Dynamics: Chase's disciplined approach to app releases stands out. However, the issues tied to version 2.18, particularly in reliability and UI design, need immediate attention. This disciplined yet vigilant approach will be essential to maintain their growth trajectory.


 Conclusion and Way Forward 


Chase UK's mobile banking app performance underscores the importance of continuous improvement, a consistent approach and discipline around incremental improvements looking for even the smallest gains, even when one is already a market leader. As they march ahead, a blend of discipline in releases combined with agility to address emerging issues will be pivotal.


Focusing on incremental improvements can drive substantial overall progress. Touchpoint Group will revisit these insights in October, with a keen eye on how Chase responds to the highlighted challenges. For those seeking a deeper dive into their banking app performance, Glenn and Tony stand ready for consultation.


These insights sessions provide not just a snapshot of the current state but also a roadmap for other banking apps to follow what lies ahead in the dynamic world of UK mobile banking apps.

Video Transcript


Glenn Marvin (00:05): Hello again, and welcome back to another Touchpoint Group Banking App Insight session. We're looking at the UK bank categories for the month of September. And you know what? When you're doing well, sometimes it's hard to figure out what you need to identify to get those little gains to keep you ahead of the rest of the pack. So this month in the UK, we are going to be looking at Chase, aren't we, Tony Patrick? They have had some great gains over the last wee while. And we're going to do a little bit of a dive to see where they can keep on focusing on keeping that momentum going.



Tony Patrick (00:44): Brilliant. Thank you, Glenn. Yes, so today we're looking at, we'll have a look at all of these brands here in the UK and see how they're performing into September. But of course, the focus is on Chase UK. So let's jump straight in and have a look at our standard view of just seeing what's going on in the market. 


So those familiar with this view will know that this is what we're looking at is what we call our Engaged Customer Scores. That's customers who've given both a score and a comment in both either the app store or the Android store.


So here we can see a few things going on. One is we're seeing Lloyd's actually coming from strength to strength. It's actually hitting around 4.6, nearly 4.6 now. So very strong for Lloyd's historically. They tend not to drop away. They're very consistent in what they do. So that's brilliant. Barclays has been moving around a fair bit recently this year. They have had some improvements from that drop in March, but they're struggling to pick that up to the level they were historically.


And I won't look at every single one of these. NatWest is a nice growth story sitting around 4.1 and then now getting up to a 4.3, 4.4. So a nice growth story, although it's a few drops along the way as they went for that improvement. One of the ones we've been looking at over the past few months is NatWest, and they were doing really well. They were up there with Lloyds until they had that app release in June. And we see it's dropped away.


But that's normal. We see that normally they drop away when customers get used to these new journeys and new ways of doing things in the app. But they jumped up a little bit in August but back down again in September. 


So before we jump in and have a look at Chase, we'll have a look at this in just one view of this to see what's going on in there. So we saw that we're commencing the 19th of June as they jumped into their app release. And these are pain points. So those regular viewers will see these are clear, these are clear top-level pain point topics. And we can see there we've got one called design and UI.


Now, as a pain point, we want the frequency of these to be as low as possible. And what we're seeing is that we had a big jump in this design and UI pain point as they launched that new app because there was a new UI as part of that relaunch. Customers are getting used to it. So across time, we see used to it week on week, getting used to it, getting used to it. And we saw at the end of August there was a bit of a jump in Reliability issues. But you can see in September, that has escalated a lot.


So it was around 10 to 14%. It's now looking like it's doubled that in September, in the weeks into September. So major issues for Reliability and Stability. And as those regular viewers as well know, there's a lot of detail underneath each of these subtopics. So we know exactly why that jump has happened. But along the way, that's affected things like the features and functionality in there as well, but also it's affecting the design and UI again. So there are some things that NatWest need to look at to bring that back down because it's not performing very well in September.


Let's move forward and look at a couple of other banks. So what we're seeing here is a few others sitting in here. So I'll just expose a couple down the bottom here. 


It's looking at Monese and Monzo struggling a bit. So Monzo a bit is getting below that 3.4 level. So they've dropped again to the lowest level across the past year. So need to improve across that. But I'll just move that away so we can see some others. Monese is sort of bumping around the bottom. They need to obviously pick their act up to get to that level of others. There's a clear gap going on there. Let's clear that away so we can see what's going on elsewhere. Starling is historically a very good performer, and it fights it out with Lloyds to some extent, but doing very well, increased recently. 


One of the ones I want to look at today is looking at Chase. So they were sitting around 4 about a year ago, jumped up 4.1, 4.2, and you can see there's sort of a bumping improvement across time. They're now sitting above 4.4. That's one of the tough things to do with this. When you've got an app that's sitting around 4, it's doing pretty well. So it's those incremental things you can do to get yourself up to the next layer.


So let's have a look and see what they've actually done. So this is that this is just isolated looking at Chase as the scores move from that 4 to around 4.4. So what I'll also do is have a look at is this iOS or Android doing this. It's a bit of both. Mainly though, iOS is probably the biggest pickup in the score, although Android is also showing a general increase from about 4 to 4.3 around there somewhere.


So across both, we're seeing that movement. Let's have a look at the high-level topics, though. So this is looking at the pain points across these high-level topics. What's happened from the end of last year to now, to the most recent three months for Chase? So what we can see is that their Reliability and Stability have improved. We can see their Authentication and Logging-in Issues have halved, so really good there. Features and Functionality issues have gone down a bit. So it's mainly, though, coming from Reliability, Stability, and Authentication. That's the main kicker as to why those improvements occurred. One of the things that's interesting for Chase is that this 15% sitting there in the last three months, that there, if you look on the right here and just benchmark this against competitors, that's about average. So even though they've improved, they've got a lot of room for improvement. If they even get to the level of in the top five somewhere, they can get that to around 10%.


So they can, they've got room to improve that from this point on. So they've got room to grow from that 4.4. So very positive for Chase in that area. 


So let's look at another area here. What this is, this is showing us, we saw the frequency of those topics, and we want to reduce those as much as we can because they're pain points. But we can see here exactly how it's impacted their score.


So if we see back at the end of last year, this blue one here, the end of last year, Reliability and Stability were dragging back Chase's score by -0.31. It was having a negative -0.31 impact on their score. Now it's only negative -0.19. So a nice improvement there, a sort of a 0.1 improvement. So that's partially why the score's improved. Technical issues, a subtopic of that is also improved. But authentication is another area. We can see that's also improved. The score is being less impacted by those particular issues. 


And there are a few other sub-topics here, like crashes and bugs and freezes etc, and login errors. So we can see they're improving across time and many different sub-topics as they move forward.


So let's have a look at more recently. So what we can see here is this is looking at just Chase. We can see this score as we see it's moving up and up. It's around 4.4. And even though the score has moved from, it's steady, it's 4.4 to 4.4 across the past month from August to September. What we can see is a few things have increased. It doesn't mean everything's going well. We can see some other sub-details. 


One of the things we can see is the Design and UI issues have gone up. There were around 4.8. They've gone to 6%. Not much of a movement, but the way we've set this up, we can see subtle things. The way we've got the topics here, we can see subtle movement in what's going on. And we can see the subtopics to the right of those Design and UI issues. So I can see here difficult to use in general and has gone up by 0.9, poor user interface up by 0.3, and Confusing App by 0.4. So some things to watch out there for Chase because the changes they've made are causing some issues for customers, although not as major as we've seen for NatWest. 


So let's have a look, though, at some sub-detail about what's going on. So this is looking at the app release cycle for Chase. Now, one of the things I can see here, this is a very consistent and disciplined app release cycle, so very, very positive, and this would be the reason, partially the reason they're actually improving the way they are. A very disciplined approach to what they're doing. 


What I can see, though, is there's one particular release which is this one 2.18.0, which will be connected directly with that design and UI issue problem. You can see there the average score is 4.2 for that particular release, whereas others are getting 4.4 or 4.5. So a subtle movement, but this one here they need to watch out for this 2.18 release. Now, in particular, I'm going to show you a lot there's a table coming up next.


So I'll just explain what's happening here. Across the top, we've actually got the releases coming through. So 2.14.0 all the way to 2.18.0 for Chase. And what we got on the side here are the sub-issues, all these sorts of issues going on. Now, one of the things we can see is that the highest this version 2.18.0 has the highest frequency of Reliability issues at 18%. It also has the highest frequency of Slow App. And one of the things, of course, we talked about before is design and UI. They're at 7.9%, whereas others might have hit six previously. And one other thing down here, 4.5% for Poor User Interface, the previous app version here at 2.3%. So they've doubled, it's a subtle movement, but there are some problems there that I need to be aware of as they move forward. So great work from Chase UK, but they need to pick up their act in terms of making sure those release cycles are doing, having a positive improvement across the tiniest things as they move forward. Thank you, Glenn.


Glenn Marvin (10:11): Thanks, Tony, and just another great indication of how focusing on little things incrementally can make a big difference overall. That's it for September 2023. We'll be back and having another look in October. We may even revisit to see what impact has happened with Chase. But if you want to have a chat with us about your bank and your banking app, reach out to Tony or I, and we'd be more than happy to have a chat.