Speed of different apps

I’ve noticed that different apps take different amount of touches to get to the point of being able to make a payment. The newer fintechs such as Kroo and Algbra seem to have fewer touches needed than the likes of Monzo and Starling.

I also noticed that to open the apps from a cold start took different lengths of time, so I’ve timed going from a cold start. App has been forced stopped in Android so it has to load everything up. I’ve timed how long its taken to open up the app and make a £1 payment to another account whose details have already been added and for that transaction to all go through.

Only did one run through and its not particularly scientific but thought I’d share incase any one else was interested:

Bank Time(s)
Monzo 17
Starling 17
Kroo 22
Algbra 24
Chase 15
Revolut 15

It is interesting, and you might enjoy having a look at some of the Built for Mars stuff.

What I will say for taps is, fewer doesn’t always mean better, nor faster, necessarily.

1 Like

Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before ( :wink: ) - every month I bounce a few thousand pounds between a dozen or so accounts across 6 or 7 different banks - none of the names you’ve mentioned above, all brands with a retail presence.

The only UX I find very slightly frustrating is the Natwest Group one as it buries payments (to other accounts) 3 tiers deep and I often mistakenly hit the transfer option instead.

My favourite is probably Revolut as it does that satisfying sound/haptic thing when you do a payment.

1 Like

Thankyou, this is fascinating stuff, touching on all the observations and frustrations aired on these forums.

1 Like

I forgot to try Revolut. Just tried them and at 15s were joint fastest with Chase.

Think I preferred it to Chase though as it made it clear via a logo which bank account I was paying the money in to.

Hi, new here, Algbra does seem to take an age to load up, the easy transfers are pretty good though once it has. Chase always annoyed me because it would take ages to refresh the account total on the main page asynchronously after log in, so at first glance the balance always looked higher than it is, caught me out a few times.

1 Like

Interesting. And the built for mars stuff, it’s fascinating.

I did this in as scientific way as possible for both HSBC and First Direct. Open app from closed state to point where payment would be made.

HSBC: 12 seconds
First Direct: 11 seconds

1 Like

I got 14 seconds with Lloyds - which was hampered by a message for a product I had to dismiss.

Of course this isn’t particularly scientific as finding a name at the bottom of a big list is likely to take far longer than selecting your one and only saved payee.

1 Like

OPs testing was done on Android. Can you please state which platform your testing is on so comparing is fair?

iOS is typically much faster when than Android in this respect. The A chips have been years ahead of the flagship SoCs from android vendors for years now. And Apple’s hardware and software is far more tightly integrated.

Device models are probably useful too. An iPhone 14 (less than a year old) loading an app’s resources relative to a Samsung Galaxy S20 (over 3 years old) wouldn’t be a fair comparison, for instance.

1 Like

Ah yes - mine is on iOS 17 - iPhone 14 pro - i didn’t put these down as a comparison per se just noting the speeds of both HSBC/FD on the above device.

1 Like

I really don’t think this makes a great deal of difference - banking apps shouldn’t be resource hogs unless they’re very badly written. Connection quality is far more likely to be a limiting factor.

It does.

To demonstrate this to you, here are my tests for a few of the apps I have installed on my iPhone 14 pro that OP tested. Bearing in mind I’m also on beta software (iOS 17) which usually results in a performance hit.

I replicated the test as close as possible. Launching the apps from a cold boot.

Bank Time (s)
Chase 6
Monzo 8
Algbra 7
Revolut 6

At least with the fintech banks (Algbra being the exception), which I’m timing here, their resources are stored locally on your device and require no communication with a server to load them. No communication with a server even starts with respect to making a transfer until you begin the process, and we’re only timing how long it takes you to get to that process.

I’ve run the test 3 times:

  • over wifi (80/20) FTTC
  • over 4G (10/4) via Sky (o2)
  • with Airplane mode enabled.

The results were identical each time, except Algbra, which failed with airplane mode because it requires a connection to authenticate and access the app initially. But results over 4G and WiFi were identical. But given the app needs to authenticate with a server some way, that could impact the speed at which you can access the app, but rarely longer than a few hundred milliseconds.

It’s not necessarily about banks being resource hogs per se, it’s more about how well they’re optimised for the platform and hardware on which they’re installed, and the impact of lower hardware specifications. There’s just no rivalling iPhone in this context, unless you specifically choose to focus on developing for a specific Android device and ignore the rest. But that’s not what banks prioritise. They want their app on as many Android devices as possible, and that unfortunately comes with a pretty hefty performance and optimisation trade off.

We see a lot of complaints to that nature on these forums. A banking app being generally poor on the odd Android device whilst iOS customers never experience the same issues. Chase in particular gets a lot of those.

That proves you can go quicker than the times the OP achieved.

Do exactly the same on an Android phone now yourself and you’ll have a scientific-ish test that proves pretty well there’s a speed difference between your two devices. Repeat on a spread of Android devices and a spread of Apple devices and you’ll have a stronger argument that one range is objectively quicker than another.

I wasn’t particularly trying to go fast. Nor did I shave any time off for the time it took my finger to move (and vice versa) from the timer start button on my watch to the app icon on my Home Screen.

My taps were fairly slowly paced, but that’s the problem with unscientific testing.

I can only test Revolut on my dev Google Pixel 6, which isolder than my iPhone (it’s the only Android device I have, and Revolut is the only one I’m signed in to). Exact same process as my iPhone testing (but only on wifi). It took 18 seconds.

I should note I’m not basing what I’m saying on my tests. They’re merely supplemental to demonstrate the point I’m trying to make.

Will we be able to summarise the results or is the exercise demonstrating otherwise?

Probably not in any meaningful way. At least for the methodology we’re using and how we’re testing.

It’s not scientific and there’s just too many uncontrollable variables at play that can influence the results.

Measuring by number of taps like Built for Mars did is probably still the best way to go about it, though has its own flaws, and a summary would sacrifice the crucial nuance to that. Like I said in my first post, fewer taps doesn’t necessarily mean better, or faster.

An extra tap that adds much needed order and logic can often be the better choice and result in greater muscle memory and ease and speed of navigation for users.

This is a very good read if you’re interested in that:

It’s a fascinating discussion topic, and we all discussed it at length on the old forum, but there was never a thread for it here, which is surprising given that the built for Mars case studies were recently redone and discussed quite a bit at the other place. I guess there’s not much interest for this stuff over here these days.


I have a pixel 7 pro but I can’t be bothered with this one :joy:

All I’ll say though is it’s a great phone. Fast and smooth but I never use iPhones so can’t compare.

Mine is a Pixel 7, so should be about the same speed. Can’t blame for not wanting to do this - its just something that popped into my head and thought its something others would fine interesting.

Best thing about posting it, was @N26throwaway posting the link to Built for Mars. Spent a good bit of Sunday reading through that!

1 Like