I’ve never used any of the high street banks that often get praised for app quality (Lloyds group, Natwest group, and Barclays). But those I have accounts with (HSBC, Santander, Nationwide, TSB) have apps that I’d still describe as far behind the fintechs.
RBS is one of the most native-feeling, although I agree that you still run into sole clunky interfaces.
The problem with the Lloyds Group apps is that a lot of the time it seems to be rendering webpages within the app, resulting in the slow feeling and random loading spinners. Barclays also do this with their app.
I’ve said this on another forum the other day: I’ve grown tired of fintechs. Too many surprises, missing features, random charges (yes, a complaint that used to be levelled against legacy banks!), poor customer service, and just very little to actually benefit.
In terms of benefits: Starling’s USP is a silly useless wheel, Chase’s USP is that you can’t actually do banking with them, Monzo’s USP - ah, well, let’s not go there
True, if my legacy banks where Nationwide or Santander I’d say fintechs are miles ahead. But my legacy “banks” are Barclays, RBS, and AmEx, and their apps just work, they do what you expect a bank to do, and don’t charge me random fees (admittedly mostly because I’ve learned for decades how to avoid paying them, whilst the fintech charging structure is still new to me).
Only use of fintechs I have is Revolut kid’s account and Starling Euro. Everything else is firmly back with the legacy banks.
Given your choice of banks, it’s not surprising you’ve come to that assessment of the neo-banks. It was always going to be the case that existing banks with anything about them would close the gap (and their stability as an extra benefit to boot).
Apart from the obvious being Chase Bank U.K. which unless it actually starts operating like a proper bank instead of the current half arsed spending account it currently is, I don’t actually have an issue with the fintech banking scene. Then again, the only fintech bank I’m with that is app only (beside Chase), is Starling, and Starling does for me exactly what I need it to. Ok, I accept, the dumb wheel thing is exactly that, dumb, but it has become a feature of Starling and if they had any intention of dumping it, they’d have done so by now.
High Street legacy banks for me personally, I couldn’t actually give a fig about as I never use their outdated branch networks anyway. Yes, I have a Nationwide account, run entirely online. Their website is in my own opinion, outdated and absolutely in need of a total revision. Trouble is, it probably has a demographic that doesn’t like much to move with the times, so where’s the incentive for Nationwide to sass the whole thing up?
I do like the Lloyds app, it’s very well thought out, though seeing as I have now given up my Lloyds credit card now the interest free period has finished, I no longer use Lloyds services. The RBS app is unspectacular and no where near in the same leage as Starling. I do have an RBS account, but it’s only a wages in account and used for nothing else.
AMEX, absolutely excellent credit card app, no complaints there and I could see little they could improve on.
So, I’ve just received my new M&S credit card with 23 months interest free credit and having once before had an M&S Bank account and a credit card a few years back, their app was absolutely bloody dire. I’ve been on the iOS app store and apparently, it still is judging by the appalling reviews it has. You’d have thought HSBC would have done something about it by now, but clearly (to me) they have absolutely no interest in it.
As for charges, well I don’t have an overdraft and I pay everything on time every time, so I can’t comment further.
Customer service. Well I rarely ever contact any of the banks I deal with. My most recent however, has been to Chase to complain about their lack of features, most notably, no Confirmation of Payee. They answered me extremely quickly and enthusiastically, despite the fact that one of their ‘advisors’ gave me incorrect information. Starling, I had to contact them a couple of weeks ago because they claim they’d sent out a new debit card which after almost 2 weeks, had failed to materialise. They initiated the process of ordering a new one to be sent out via tracked mail, but low and behold, the card they said they sent out arrived the very next day, so the replacement was cancelled. Again though, their Customer Service was swift and cheerful, so no complaints.
As for legacy banks themselves, the term ‘legacy’ won’t much matter anyway once almost the entire branch network system had closed, quite possibly within the next 20 years when of course physical cash will also have been flushed down the fiscal loo.
I agree with all of that, and of course if Nationwide (as an example) spent time and money on digital upgrades that would have to be money diverted away from maintaining their branch network - which many of their more “traditional” customers might value.
This fundamental demographic difference, between people with the attitude of never wanting to do anything in person vs those who do almost everything in person, is going to colour the approach of different banks more than anything else, I think.
Traditional banks could catch up to the fintechs fairly quickly, if they really wanted to, but they can’t in reality since there is a consumer and governmental expectation on them to provide branch services too (and, to a more limited extent, also a business case for this to continue in some capacity to serve long-standing customers).
As far as the ‘Consumer’ is concerned, again, we’re probably talking a majority of folks in their fifties and beyond. There’s still a hard core of people in their 60s to 80’s plus who just can’t because of personal or technical reasons, accept a fast changing digital world. I just can’t see a queue of younger people in their 20’s, 30’s or 40’s, regularly standing queuing up outside or inside a legacy bank branch. The last time I stepped foot into my old Lloyds Branch in the East Midlands, it was populated almost exclusively by the purple rinse brigade. I couldn’t wait to get out of there!