Westpac and CommBank are leaders in mobile banking, according to Forrester Research, while Australia’s other big banks still have some work to do.

Forrester recently evaluated the retail mobile banking services of five large retail banks in Australia: ANZ Bank, CommBank, Macquarie Bank, NAB, and Westpac.

CommBank took out the top spot in Forrester Research’s 2017 Australian Mobile Banking Benchmark, just ahead of Westpac.

CommBank came out on top thanks to its strength in usability, while Westpac earned the highest score in functionality. Both banks provide extensive transactional features and have upped the ante with cross-channel guidance and marketing and sales, the analysts said.

Last year Forrester named Westpac a world leader in mobile banking functionality.

The assessment was conducted between February 21 and March 13, 2017 and is intended to provide a benchmark for the current state of retail mobile banking in Australia.

Forrester 2017 Australian Mobile Banking Benchmark
Forrester 2017 Australian Mobile Banking Benchmark

The other banks in the survey have some catching up to do.

The report found most large Australian banks offer a strong foundation for mobile banking that meets customers’ basic mobile needs and expectations.

However, other than CommBank and Westpac, the other banks still have a way to go when it comes to money movement, service features, cross-channel guidance, and marketing and sales, Forrester said.

New Zealand banks lag behind their Aussie peers in mobile banking capability. In a separate review conducted by Forrester, the average combined Mobile Banking Benchmark score for NZ banks was 51 out of 100, far below the average functionality score of 64 for Australian banks. Kiwibank came out on top in New Zealand due to its strong usability.

Most common use cases for mobile banking are checking account balances, transferring money between accounts, and viewing a recent bank transaction, according to the report.

Forrester suggested all the banks could improve the way they use mobile to communicate with customers. None of the Australian banks Forrester reviewed let customers contact the bank via secure messaging or chat to request help. Few banks send customers mobile alerts to warn them of potential security issues.

Interacting with customers via third party channels, such as Facebook Messenger, iMessage, Twitter, and WeChat is common in China, but has not yet become widespread in Australia. However, after Forrester completed its review, Westpac introduced the Westpac Keyboard to enable iPhone customers to make payments and share bank account details with third-party messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Whatsapp, and Twitter, and share cardless cash codes.

Providing financial guidance via mobiel channels was another area with room for improvement. Some Australian banks offer basic digital money management, such as setting up a simple savings goal, but the majority does not offer personalised financial guidance or planning tools to help customers achieve their financial goals.

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