Australia’s major banks all agree that mobile phones and tablets will account for an ever-increasing share of customer activity. Given that, why do they continue to make such a dog’s breakfast of actually developing decent apps?
In the past month or so, I’ve been to app launches for Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and NAB. (An invite from ANZ surely can’t be far away.) At every single event, the message has been the same: a huge percentage of customers access online banking services using their phones. At Westpac, for instance, mobiles account for one-third of online access, and those numbers are continuing to grow.
In those circumstances, it makes sense that banks are paying increasing attention to building mobile-friendly sites and platform-specific apps to access online banking services. It’s often said around here that rather than wasting time on individual apps for iOS and Android and all the rest, banks would be better off building good mobile sites that would work on multiple platforms. For their part, the banks argue that customers prefer the app experience. At NAB, 80 per cent of mobile access is through its native apps for iOS and Android.
That’s all well and good, but I’m finding there’s an increasing gap between the “mobile is the future” mantra and the stupid design decisions evident in many of these apps. Here are five that stick out for me.
5. Apps that do less than their predecessors
recently-launched iPad app
4. Apps that are little more than a browser shell
first Android apps
3. Apps that don’t look like they’re built for the platform
pledgedexact opposite had happened
2. Botched NFC plans
access the relevant security features
1. Security systems that make life stupidly hard
The Commonwealth doesn’t impose the same restriction as far as I know, perhaps because it imposes two-factor authentication on many activities such as money transfers which makes the passcode on its own less useful. So clearly it’s possible to combine convenience and a reasonable level of security. Owning both a tablet and a phone is hardly an uncommon scenario, so NAB’s approach comes across as badly-implemented.
Where could your bank do better with its mobile apps? What do you like about what it offers now? Tell us in the comments.