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UK Banks still need to work on matching their mobile apps with customer demand

The research: According to our forecast, mobile banking app use will extend to over half of the UK population by 2026. Though banks’ tech spending will continue to grow, it will be at a much slower pace than this year’s spike. Now is the time for banks to invest in mobile capabilities.

Our UK Mobile Banking Emerging Features Benchmark report highlights what customers are demanding, and where UK banks are succeeding and falling short. The benchmark surveyed 1,172 UK adults (ages 18 to 76) in July and August who had used mobile banking in the previous three months. It also examined the availability of mobile banking features at the 10 largest UK financial institutions (FIs) by total domestic assets.

Security and control

  • Four of the 10 features most valued by consumers fell into the security and control category—but these features were the least supported by banks.
  • FIs scored strongly in debit card security features, but customers also demanded tools that assist in fraud detection, like using the app as an authenticator for other devices.
  • Open banking capabilities also scored low among banks. Only three FIs offer financial management features using third-party data access. This is a huge opportunity for banks as the Financial Conduct Authority is heavily promoting open banking and it’s expected to soar in the UK.


  • Setting an alert for unusual account activity was the highest-valued feature in the study, with at least 50% of every generational cohort calling it the most important. But only one FI offers it.
  • With fraud running rampant in the UK, focusing on fraud alerts is a key way for banks to build loyalty and trust with their customer base.
  • Account balance alerts are also highly valued as the cost of living crisis weighs on the country. These alerts let customers budget for upcoming bills and expenses.

Account management

  • Mobile app account management features are key to retaining customers, as bank branches in the UK continue to be shuttered at record pace.
  • Three of the top five features within the entire study fell into this category: easy-to-understand transaction details, activating a new card, and changing a PIN.
  • Banks scored well when it came to providing transaction details, with six out of 10 supporting it. But there’s more opportunity to build customer trust through features like adding a debit card to a virtual wallet.

Digital money management

  • Features in this category are highly valued by customers as they turn to FIs for financial guidance amid rising inflation and interest rates. But FIs are missing the mark on the most important features.
  • The survey revealed that AI features are not that important to customers, and that automatic savings features are in low demand.
  • Instead, banks should focus on subscription management within their mobile apps, as well as providing budget insights based on consumers’ full financial picture. One highly valued feature was the ability to view all recurring payments in one place.

Customer service

  • Mobile customer service features like chatbots are table stakes at this point, but consumers surveyed said they don’t always go far enough. The survey results showed a 17% difference in consumer satisfaction between chatbot interactions and live chat experiences.
  • But consumers were less aware of the value of video-conferencing or setting up a call with a banker. Many FIs offer these services, but need to do a better job at communicating their value.


  • Though transfers were the most competitive category among banks, they were the least valued by consumers.
  • Banks have a significant opportunity to differentiate themselves in this category by focusing on simple, straightforward tasks, like depositing a check via mobile app.
  • Peer-to-peer payment services and split payments are other high-value opportunities in this category.

Continue reading: To see which UK banks are making top marks in mobile banking app features, check out the UK Mobile Banking Emerging Features Benchmark.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence’s Banking Innovation Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the banking industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.