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How and why Forrester gave this NZ bank the top mark for mobile banking

How and why Forrester gave this NZ bank the top mark for mobile banking

All three retail banks evaluated by Forrester do the basics well. But one bank edged out the others because of usability.

NZ banks can not afford to be complacent as the likes of Apple Pay, PocketSmith, and Xero are resetting Kiwis’ expectations about digital money.

Forrester notes how more and more Kiwis use digital banking and want a seamless experience from their banks.

So how are local banks meeting customer needs and expectations?

The analyst firm recently evaluated the retail mobile banking services of three large local retail banks: ASB Bank, Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) and Kiwibank.

Kiwibank earned the top spot due to its good usability scores, according to Forrester analyst and report author Zhi Ying Ng.

Explaining the top marks for Kiwibank, she writes:

“The bank stood out from its peers by delivering services that help customers easily navigate its mobile app and find content that helps them complete tasks without encountering errors.

“The bank’s mobile app also provides a wealth of pre-login content as well as useful money management and money movement functionality.”

Room for improvement

She lists areas where “there is much room for improvement” for the three banks.  

The banks provide few marketing and sales features to help customers search or apply for financial products within mobile banking. Customer service and help are lacking, she points out.

Only ASB provides personalised marketing notifications and some self-service features. None of the three banks provide contextual help or universal search in the app.

When it comes to service features, none of the three banks sends security alerts.

They are missing a crucial opportunity to warn customers about suspicious transactions, account details being changed, or multiple failed logins, says Forrester.

The banks are missing a crucial opportunity to warn customers about suspicious transactions, account details being changed, or multiple failed logins

Zhi Ying Ng, Forrester

Comparing the results with the banks in Australia, Forrester says the average combined Mobile Banking Benchmark score for NZ banks was 51 out of 100. In Australia, the average functionality score was 64.

Commonwealth Bank came out on top in the Australian review, because of strength in usability, while Westpac earned the top score in functionality.

In New Zealand, BNZ was a close second to Kiwibank. While it had stronger functionality than ASB and Kiwibank, a lower usability score affected its overall mark.

“The bank provides more extensive money movement features than its peers. It’s also the only bank we reviewed in New Zealand that allows customers to use mobile image capture to open accounts,” according to Forrester.

The three retail banks scored high in enrolment and login.

Most banks deliver mobile experiences that match what customers are used to on the website. But leading banks, according to Forrester, provide guidance on how to use mobile banking as well as contextual security and privacy content to reassure mobile banking customers.

“Banks in New Zealand performed exceptionally well here, providing rich pre-login content, quick and easy login options, and seamless website integration.” 

Mobile banking has become the primary way many mobile banking users manage their money, notes Forrester.

As a result, customers want and expect to be able to initiate a range of customer service tasks from within mobile banking.

“New Zealand’s banks are letting their customers down badly here, with an almost complete lack of service features — a fact that earned New Zealand’s banks the lowest scores for service features of any banks we reviewed worldwide.”

As to why this is important, the report notes that as the complexity of mobile banking increases and customers who are less digitally savvy than the early adopters start to enroll, digital teams need to help customers understand how to use mobile features, ideally with context-sensitive help.

The report cites that in Australia, Westpac offers task-specific help, such as a step-by-step guide to transferring funds if customers click into the help section at the bottom of the screen. Westpac Australia customers can also watch a video to see how to transfer funds.

Apple Pay, PocketSmith, and Xero are resetting New Zealanders’ expectations about digital money. New entrants like Harmoney, LendMe, and Squirrel are also trying to shake up lending, says Forrester.
Apple Pay, PocketSmith, and Xero are resetting New Zealanders’ expectations about digital money. New entrants like Harmoney, LendMe, and Squirrel are also trying to shake up lending, says Forrester.

Competitors inching in

The report points out New Zealand banks are missing the opportunity to use mobile banking to engage with customers beyond enabling transactions.

They can not afford to be complacent as the likes of Apple Pay, PocketSmith, and Xero are resetting Kiwis’ expectations about digital money. New entrants like Harmoney, LendMe, and Squirrel are also trying to shake up lending, says Forrester.

“Digital banking teams must not only meet customers’ current needs and make mobile banking usable, but also create new sources of value by anticipating what customers need next.”

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