We gave 12 banking apps some key speed tests to see if the newbies are as quick as they say.
It’s a battle of the old banks versus the new kids on the block, the challengers.
Thanks as always to Peter Ramsey of Built for Mars, a man who gives modern banking a great deal of thought and is a UX zen master. He opened accounts with 12 august institutuions and gave their apps a test drive.
So, lets kick off with the first question: how many clicks to make a first payment? Peter courageously made a first payment from each.
Oh right, interesting result. A three-way tie between Co-op, first direct and Starling. Then there comes a mixture in the middle space between old and new, with Barclays and Santander bring up the rear with a marathon like 18 and 20 clicks respectively.
But, as Peter points out, perhaps a better test is to see how many seconds it took him to make a payment. So, lets look at that.
Whoa, so main insight is that the number of clicks does not always translate into a faster experience. Certainly not a better experience. For example, Peter was 39% faster on Monzo than he was on Lloyds, despite Lloyds requiring fewer clicks.
Now, you might well ask, does it really matter that Nationwide was almost a minute longer than Monzo (3x longer in fact)? I for one would say yes. I have a very low attention span, so more than one minute I’d be stressing and looking for the coffee pot.
Having got this information, Peter moved on to how fast the payment notifications were sent. And are the challenger banks faster than the traditional banks? To find out, he made a series of identical payments for £1 with the same online merchant. He timed how long it took for that payment to appear in his app and he did this three times for each bank—averaging the results.
These were online transactions and he started the timer from when he clicked to make the purchase. So these times will be considerably slower than making a contactless payment in-person.
The result was that with the challenger banks, the average time for the payment to show was between 11 and 12 seconds. With the traditional banks, it was at least 25 seconds, sometimes a lot more. And, the challengers updated in real time, without any refresh needed, whereas the senior citizens needed a hard refresh to show pending payments (Metro, Santander and Nationwide were exceptions though).
As for consistency, the newbies were “very” consistent, whereas the oldies were “very” inconsistent, and some of these weren’t showing a payment even after an hour. Indeed, the challenger banks were at least twice as fast at displaying the payment in the app and in some instances, they were 100 times faster!
So this is what Peter concludes: “Whilst this difference may seem fairly small, its effect is far more significant. Monzo, Revolut and Starling feel instant. Say it took an extra second for the light to come on when you flip a light switch, you wouldn’t consider the light to be nearly instant. It’d feel slow.
“In comparison that’s how the traditional banks feel. Consumers are now aware that it’s possible to get a notification immediately, so anything less than instant—be it 30 seconds or 30 minutes—feels like a step backwards.”
A step backwards. Well said Peter, one up for the challengers then!
And they’ll be more of these tests to come!