Which Banks Lead In Digital Sales? Find Out Here

[This blog post was co-authored by Rachel Roizen]

Hot off the presses: We’ve just published our 2014 US and Canadian Bank Digital Sales Benchmark reports, in which we assess the public websites of the five largest retail banks in each country — as well as their mobile sites and downloadable apps for smartphones and tablets. Our benchmark looks at a range of criteria across four categories: discover, explore, buy, and onboard (see image below).

Read the full reports by clicking on the following links:

                      

Here are some of the findings from the research:

  • Bank of America narrowly edges out the competition to take the top US spot. For the second year in a row, Bank of America earns the highest overall score among the five largest retail banks. The firm excels by simplifying the online application process (it takes just a few minutes and guides the user with clear feedback and progress indicators) while supporting digital shoppers with chat and click-to-call options. At the same time, Bank of America enables easy cross-channel shopping for digital researchers who want to move offline to apply, with branch appointment scheduling available online.
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2014 US Credit Card Secure Website Benchmark: Discover Continues To Lead

[This blog post was co-authored by Rachel Roizen]

Forrester has just completed our 2014 US credit card secure website benchmark, in which we assessed the features, functionality, and content on the secure websites of the six largest credit card issuers in the US.

You can read and/or download the full report by clicking on the link below:                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Here are some key findings from our research:

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Inspired By Disruptors, Digital Banking Executives Will Innovate In 2015

In April, we outlined some of the most powerful forces reshaping digital banking. These include breathtaking growth in the role of mobile banking, unrelenting changes in technology, a crowded field of new competitors and digital disruptors, and rising expectations among customers and prospects.

Now we’ve taken a look at 2015 and predicted a dozen ways digital banking will change in the coming year.* At the center of these predictions is what Forrester calls the age of the customer: A 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers. To succeed in the age of the customer, digital bank executives must work with partners across their organizations to use business technology — which Forrester defines as technology, systems, and processes to win, serve, and retain customers — to deliver more compelling customer experiences to bank customers.   

You can read the full report with all of our digital banking predictions here. In the meantime, here’s a sample of two:

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Starting A Mobile Banking Project? There's A Checklist For That

In his excellent book, The Checklist Manifesto, Atul Gawande makes a compelling case for the power of simple checklists to avoid issues and mistakes during the decisioning process. Gawande's thesis is essentially this: A consistently applied, step-by-step checklist can be enormously valuable for a range of professionals from doctors to software designers to executives at major companies.

Add to this group the lowly mobile banking strategist.

So Forrester built a checklist for anyone leading a mobile banking project. I encourage you to download it today. (It also conveniently prints out as a two-page physical checklist for those who still love paper!) Our checklist provides 20 key questions you and your team should ask and answer. These checklist items are divided into five key areas (see image below).

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Can Gamification Boost Digital Bill Pay?

[Quick note: If you read my old blog post about gamification, you may hope to earn more Peter Wannemacher Points. Well congrats! You just earned 150 more Peter Wannemacher Points! Plus, you can collect a digital badge if you read to the end of this post and send me an email!]

Forrester has outlined how and why digital teams at banks should employ gamification - defined as the insertion of game dynamics and mechanics into non-game activities to drive a desired behavior - to engage customers and employees. Banks like BBVA have used gamification in online banking. But what role can tech solutions vendors play in helping banks better employ gamification techniques?

Fiserv’s current version of CheckFree RXP uses gamification to increase digital bill pay adoption among its bank clients - our research shows online bill pay is a critical secure site feature on banks' websites. So I spoke with Justin Jackson, senior product manager at Fiserv, about the company’s use of gamification. Right away, he made it clear that gamification is not just “building an online game for people to play” but the process of “taking cues from game design to better engage users.”

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Citi Expands Pre-Login Info For Mobile Bankers

More than two years ago, Westpac – a bank in New Zealand – rolled out its “Cash Tank” feature for mobile bankers. Suddenly, customers could view key information like account balances without needing to log in (needless to say, it was and is opt-in-only). This new mobile banking feature immediately made a splash and was hailed as a small-but-impressive innovation. Other banks – such as Société Générale in France and Bank of the West in the US – offer similar pre-login information features.

This led folks like me to wonder: How might digital teams at banks take pre-login information further or make it even better?

Great digital strategy is often about pushing the limits – and not just in big ways. So Citi’s recent update to its smartphone apps is noteworthy for the bank’s decision to push the idea of pre-login information even further with Citi Mobile Snapshot. Citi customers who bank via their mobile phones can view not only balances but recent transactions without the hassle of logging in.

We spoke with Andres Wolberg-Stok, Global Head of Emerging Platforms and Services who shared with us a diagram that demonstrates the evolution of its mobile banking effort before and after Citi Mobile Snapshot (see below).

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US Mobile Banking Benchmark: Chase And U.S. Bank Earn Top Scores But Banks Lag On Innovation

When it comes to mobile banking, customers' expectations are growing faster than the hair on a Chia Pet. So every year, Forrester reviews and scores the mobile banking offerings from the largest retail banks in the US across seven categories: Range of touchpoints; Enrollment and login; Account information; Transactional functionality; Service features; Cross-channel guidance; and marketing and sales. You can read the complete report here or by clicking on the link below:

Here is a sampling of some of our findings:

  • Chase and U.S. Bank tie for the top spot. With scores of 69 out of 100, Chase and U.S. Bank received the highest overall scores among the five banks we evaluated. Chase delivers the basics superbly, with a wide range of transactional features for transfers, bill pay, and P2P payments as well as strong cross-channel guidance for customers to contact Chase and find ATMs and branches. By contrast U.S. Bank stands out for more advanced features, including marketing and research for additional products, the ability to take a picture of a paper bill to enroll in bill pay, and the ability to pay another person using the contact list in a mobile phone.
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Canadian Mobile Banking Benchmark: CIBC Leads Overall Followed Closely By BMO And Scotiabank

In Canada, mobile banking is growing up faster than Justin Bieber. So from March 21 to April 9, 2014, Forrester reviewed and scored the mobile banking offerings from the five largest retail banks in Canada across seven categories: Range of touchpoints; Enrollment and login; Account information; Transactional functionality; Service features; Cross-channel guidance; and marketing and sales. You can read the complete report here or by clicking on the link below:

Here is a sampling of some of our findings:

  • CIBC earns the highest overall score with BMO and Scotiabank on its heels. With an overall score of 71 out of 100, CIBC received the highest overall scores among the five retail banks we evaluated, continuing the firm’s leadership in mobile banking since it launched its first iPhone app four years ago. But the other large Canadian banks are hot on CIBC’s trail: BMO and Scotiabank each earned a score of 70 out of 100 with impressive – and recent – overhauls of their mobile offerings. Scotiabank lets users apply for new products via mobile with pre-filled, mobile-optimized applications. BMO, meanwhile, ensures that all mobile money movement task flows are clear and consistent -- incorporating the same progress meter at the top of every screen.
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Digital Is What We Do Now: Banking Trends And What Digital Teams Should Do About Them

The first email I received at work in 2014 was from a bank; along with a festive new year’s greeting, the email touted the bank’s new mobile app and a new feature that let customers set up travel notifications directly from the bank’s website. Later that day, I was in an airport reading a friend’s Facebook post about how she wished “more apps were like Uber.”

These are just a few small anecdotes about ongoing digital trends impacting businesses and banks both large and small. I recently spoke with a banking executive who put it simply: “Digital is what we do now.” (This quote is now the header of my Twitter feed.)

Forrester recently published our Trends 2014: North American Digital Banking report, in which we identify major forces impacting banks and lay out five actions that we recommend digital strategists take to prepare for the future of digital banking. Here’s a sample of some of our findings:

  • Banks will face a sustained – yet unclear – regulatory environment. In both the US and Canada, banks are confronting an uncertain regulatory future. The Dodd-Frank Act was signed into US law on July 21, 2010, but a large number of the rules and regulations remain unwritten. It's unclear when they'll be finalized, and the fact that 47% of deadlines have already been missed – according to the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell – doesn't bode well.
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You Have A Mobile Banking Strategy: Now What? (Discussion Of The Obstacles To Mobile Banking Execution Success)

For digital teams at banks and credit unions, building a mobile strategy to win, serve, and retain customers is a major undertaking. But even after executive leaders approve a mobile strategy — after the congratulations, confetti, and champagne fade away — digital teams at banks face the challenge of executing on that strategy. The latest chapter in Forrester's Mobile Banking Strategy Playbook outlines how digital business leaders at banks can meet customer needs and business objectives with a mobile banking road map

Our report lays out many commonly-encountered obstacles to mobile banking execution success and how digital teams can overcome these obstacles. Here are a few of the areas the report looks at:

  • Overly ambiguous — or nonexistent — business goals. Clearly articulated business goals should be part of a bank's mobile strategy. But a successful road map also lays out the business objectives and records specific goals for each initiative. As one eBusiness executive at a bank told us, "We literally have a section we call 'What's in it for us?' and we use sticky notes to write out what we think we can gain from each action."
  • Legacy systems and back-end integration. Technology may well be the largest obstacle to executing a mobile banking strategy — especially for larger, traditional banks. As such, successful mobile road maps need to outline how initiatives will plug into existing or soon-to-come platforms and systems.
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