Australian Mobile Banking Apps Are Put To The Test As Consumers Grapple With A Volatile Economic Climate

Written by Seles Sebastin, Riccardo Pasto and Zhi-Ying Barry

We live in a turbulent world. While the Australian economy is set to continue its (albeit bumpy) recovery with a record-low unemployment rate, a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and severe flooding have led to work stoppages and left many communities economically vulnerable. Australian consumers also face rising inflation, an increased cost of living and a looming energy crisis. The result? 54% of Australian online adults state that they need help with money management, while only 21% strongly believe that their financial institution cares about their financial well-being. Building Australians’ financial capability is now a priority for the Australian Government, further highlighting the importance and urgency of improving financial well-being.

Our 2022 digital experience review of five Australian banks (ANZ Bank, CommBank, NAB, Suncorp, and Westpac) revealed that Australian banks need to do more to help customers improve their financial well-being. Only two out of the five banks we reviewed provided customers with effective savings, budgeting and debt management solutions. Australian banks must accelerate the development of money management capabilities.

We scored Australian banks’ mobile apps across 27 functionality criteria and 26 user experience criteria. Here are some of our key findings:

  • Australian banks offer great self-service but lag in money movement and management. All five Australian banks performed strongly in the category of self-service features, closely followed by marketing and sales. Areas of particular strength were personal data and card management, product applications, and customer-led product research. However, nearly all Australian banks we reviewed have little to no functionality in areas like transfer management, financial health scores, and account aggregation.
  • CommBank stays on top with an industry-leading mobile experience. CommBank retains the top spot overall in our 2022 Australian digital experience review. Its app is rich with functionality, making for an easy, seamless, and informative mobile banking experience. CommBank has best-in-class money management features that help customers keep track of their expenses and budget better: The “money plan” functionality breaks down a customer’s budget by transaction category, such as shopping or eating out, and provides an overview of their bill payments with a bill calendar and a cashflow view.
  • Westpac’s app comes in a close second, with a leading user experience. Westpac has radically revamped its app since 2021, resulting in a stellar UX for customers. The app offers best-in-class search/navigation and content. It positions its app-wide search front and center on customers’ home page; it provides relevant search terms as the user types; and task-based links take the customer straight to the result of their search query. If they make an error in entry fields, such as inputting an insufficient or incorrect amount, customers receive immediate, clear, and helpful messages from the app to correct this.
  • Just two Australian banks differentiate by boosting users’ financial capabilities. Only ANZ Bank and CommBank scored above average on money management. ANZ Bank saw the biggest improvement in the category from 2021 to 2022: It lets customers set budgets via Spendi and keeps them on track with nudges and emojis. Its app lets customers personalize their savings goals, adding pictures to help them “keep their eyes on the prize”; it also shows them what they still need to achieve. CommBank takes this a step further by letting customers set budgets for specific categories, such as shopping or eating out; it also shows customers their monthly cashflow and spend by transaction category.

Forrester clients can read “The Forrester Digital Experience Review™: Australian Mobile Banking Apps, Q3 2022” report here. We have also published “The Forrester Digital Experience Review™: EMEA Mobile Banking Apps, Q2 2022” and “The Forrester Digital Experience Review™: Indian Mobile Banking Apps, Q3 2022” reports, and will be publishing the global report (including the US) very soon, so stay tuned! If you have any questions in the meantime, please reach out to us by emailing inquiry@forrester.com.

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