Can you remember the last time you physically visited a branch of your bank? If you can’t, don’t worry, you are probably one of many who conduct most - if not all - of their banking via a mobile app.
Our lives have become increasingly more digital and intertwined with our phones and so has our banking. All major banks have mobile apps nowadays. The demand for convenience and instant accessibility through mobile banking gave rise to an entirely new brand of Banks: The digital-only banks, also known as challenger banks. These banks, such as Monzo, Revolut and Starling Bank, operate entirely through their apps and appeal with fast and easy to set up and manage accounts.
If you are interested to learn more about challenger banks, be sure to take a look at our latest content, The Banking Challenge. We take an in-depth look at how challenger bank pioneers have driven innovation in the UK banking sector.
After the success of our last league table, the Premier League of Apps, we turned our attention to the world of Retail Banking and the apps we increasingly rely on.
The Banking App League table was created using data collected from January 2019 - June 2019 using the Priori Data platform. We used the metric Monthly Average Users (MAU) to determine our rankings, as well as downloads and retention rates, to show relative growth and the apps’ ability to retain users.
So who leads the table?
Unsurprisingly, traditional high street banks dominate the top of the table. Barclays is leading the way in all four categories. Natwest is in close second with nearly identical MAU stats, with most of the high street following suit.
It's worth noting that HSBC, ranked 6th in the league table, already have less than half the monthly average users than the leading duo of Barclays and Natwest. Ranked 7th and 8th belong to the new kids on the block, challenger banks Monzo and Revolut. These banks have started rivalling established high street players using an app-centric and completely digital-banking service, entirely absent of physical branches.
Who are these challenger banks?
The most popular one in the UK is Monzo, recognised by its bright coral coloured card. Monzo already have over a million customers and has download and retention rates comparable to Barclays, sitting second for both categories.
Revolut, the other challenger bank in the top 10, is the largest digital-only bank globally. They have over 4.6 million customers worldwide and 1.6 million customers in the UK alone. Their most notable feature is a free currency exchange that allows users to manage money across numerous different currencies.
What are they doing differently to the big banks?
The most appealing aspect is their fast and simple way to set up accounts - around 10 minutes to set up and less than a week to for the debit card to arrive. Furthermore, the apps allow you to monitor spending via various spending reports and analytics.
Who is drawn to these banks?
Digital only banks primarily attract young people, with 1 in 4 under-37s having an account compared to the UK average of 14 per cent, according to a study conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Crealogix.
Other notable challenger banks are N26, Starling Bank and Monese. For a deep dive on these challenger banks, grab a copy of our detailed report.
Other notable takeaways from the Banking Apps league table are the performance of RBS (11th) and Santander (22nd). They show extremely poor performance compared to the other established high street banks. RBS downloads and MAUs were less than half of the next traditional bank on the list, HSBC (7th). Santander does even worse landing at the end of the table.
The league table shows some high street banks still lead the mobile banking market, however it also shows that other established banks’ have failed to adapt their product to the evolving market. Although, challenger banks are not at the top of the table, they are providing the market with healthy competition and technical innovation.