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Comparison of the biggest Banking players in US vs Europe – UX and feature-wise

In this episode, we took up the challenge to compare the incomparable. The US and European banking scene from Features and UX perspective. 

You are probably thinking, the US and European banking worlds are totally different. Why do you want to compare totally different parts of the world? Different legal systems, cultures, economies, or even mindsets and needs. And these are exactly the reasons why.

We wanted to explore these two banking worlds and see what is doing which part better and maybe help those people working on banking products to get new inspiration. You will again see quantitative and qualitative analysis.

FinTech Insights helped us with this challenge and provided us with the data and UX analyses of these two worlds. Thanks for help FinTech Insights 🙌  

Here is the list of the banks that we were analysing:

Let’s begin with the quantitative part of the analysis. So how many features do US banks have on average vs EU?

We can see that in the US the Internet banking has more features than mobile apps, yet in the UK it’s vice versa. However, more features don’t mean better UX of course.

Let’s dig a bit deeper and see what categories are dominant in each market

A few major differences can be Junior accounts. Junior accounts are gaining more and more popularity among banks as well as customers. Parents enjoy managing children’s pocket money within the same app as they have their current accounts. Here is the link to our previous article about Kid accounts and challenger bank

Banks in the US are focused on helping to manage and invest in clients’ finances than in the UK, whereas UK banks are focusing on making money transfers easy for customers.

Best new UX features in 2021 in digital banking

  1. Easy strong authentications: users can easily authenticate themselves via their paired devices. All authentications are paired device based, so there is no need to carry card readers and remember security words and questions. Innovative features in security include device biometrics, custom biometrics of the bank, and taking a quick selfie. 
  1. Few steps to open and close accounts: customers can also create personal pots or joint pots with other members of the bank for a joint cause.
  1. Junior and family accounts: customers can open junior cards or accounts for their kids that they will be in full control of with account limits. They can also set tasks and monetary rewards for completing them. 
  1. Create payment links: which can be shared with others and get paid without revealing your account numbers and ibans
  1. Create and hold settlement groups: where a group of users can settle payments and transactions inside a group, splitted in equal shares.
  1. Disposable virtual cards: create a disposable card that the user can use to pay once and then gets deleted. Then they can again apply for a new one.
  1. Subscription management: the users can set their subscriptions for different platforms or products (Spotify, Netflix, Amazon) and manage them through their digital banking application.
  1. Easy investments: users are able to buy/sell and manage their stocks and cryptocurrency without having to navigate to a different mobile application.
  1. Automatically allocate a set amount for spending: users can set a percentage/amount of their salary to be split into specific categories for spending (e.g., shopping, taxes).

Must-have features

UK

  1. Card controls (block/unblock, cancel, special filters such as gambling control, 3D-Secure)
  2. Subscriptions management
  3. Support via chat (bot or representative) & Video banking
  4. Intrabank & Interbank (local) transfers
  5. Spaces & saving pots

    US
  1. Early wage access
  2. Mobile cheque deposit
  3. Card controls (block/unblock, cancel)
  4. Open Banking
  5. P2P transfers (intrabank)

Example of a feature that is great and useful but turns down the UX score 

People in FinTech Insights were trying to figure out what feature is great, yet could be done better.  They believe that any feature can be implemented with great UX, yet here are some examples of useful features with a bit longer journeys, are:

  1. Buy a travel or gadget insurance through your banking app
  2. Apply for investments account and buy shares, commodities or cryptos
  3. Strongly pair a new device
  4. Support: Access a human agent

Here is an example of a feature that is very easy to integrate in terms of UX but makes a great difference and is very useful 

  1. Alternative Login methods than the Biometrics for iPhone users (PIN, pattern) when wearing a face mask
  2. Personalised insights and notifications for the user, in terms of spending and remaining budget for the rest of the month (You have spent more than last month, set a budget to be on track, your account will overdraft in 5 days – what can you do about it, you have a subscription due on the 25th, based on your spending we are proposing 1-2-3 financial products we have)
  3. Virtual cards and virtual disposal card (one time use)
  4. Subscription management, allowing to categorize specific transactions as subscriptions and being able to block them. 

And Finally…

… the big stand out. 

General differences between the European and US market 

UK vs the US

  1. The greater example is the Money Transfers (intrabank and interbank as well): In the UK, you are able to perform any money transfer within milliseconds, whereas in the US the intrabank P2P transfers and Open banking transfers are the norm and require days to complete.
  2. Banking investment products are more advanced in the US than in the UK where only certain options are available, such as ISAs and term accounts.
  3. Open Banking is very common in the US, while in the UK that is quite new and with very limited capabilities. 
  4. Security features are more advanced in the UK banks, using multiple methods to verify your identity or to login (especially in your mobile banking). 
  5. In the UK, you may find advanced PFM and spending suggestions mechanisms, whereas in the US you may find a lot of features to categorize your spending without advanced suggestions and forecasts. 

There is no winner or loser, yet it was an interesting and fun exercise to see what’s different in these two parts of the banking world. Big kudos to folks from FinTech Insights for sharing their data and insights. If you want to check their solution go to their website here

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Jan Cerny
Jan is an innovation enthusiast and Fintech news reporter. He specializes in news distribution, social media, and content analysis.

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