UK banks have been slow to embrace mobile banking

U.K. banks were slow to adopt mobile banking, and two of the largest banks, Barclays and HSBC, didn't deploy a mobile banking app until 2012, writes Stephen Walker, eBusiness and channel strategy analyst at Forrester Research.

But the U.K. banking industry is beginning to change, with banks picking up the mobile pace recently, particularly when it comes to money movement, balance inquiry and transaction history search, Walker notes in a blog.

While getting a late start, Barclays has climbed to the top spot on Forrester's U.K. mobile banking benchmark.

"The bank was first to market in the U.K. with a useful digital vault in which customers can access electronic statements, upload other documents by taking a photo, and set reminders. Customers can also report a card lost or stolen entirely in-app, access many personalization features and view simple money management visualizations across smartphones and tablets," Walker explains.

For the benchmark, Forrester evaluated seven U.K. retail banks--Barclays, The Co-operative Bank, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Nationwide, NatWest and Santander--across more than 35 criteria.

Coming in a close second and third on the Forrester benchmark are Santander, which offers strong money movement capabilities and in-app alert management and recently launched a dedicated tablet app and mobile website, and Lloyds, which is the only U.K. bank to allow customers to add a payee in-app, explains Walker.

Another late bloomer, HSBC, surged past last year's leader NatWest to take fourth position in the benchmark. HSBC made improvements to its Fast Balance mobile app and now allows customers to make current and future dated transfers and payments. By contrast, NatWest provided fewer functionality updates over the last year, but it still is the only U.K. bank to offer integrated P2P functionality pre-Paym and a Get Cash feature, says Walker.

As reported by FierceMobileIT, the mobile payment system Paym was launched in May with the backing of Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Cumberland Building Society, Danske Bank, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Santander and TSB. It enables people to send and receive payments to a current banking account using a mobile phone number.

For more:
- read Walker's blog
- check out Forrester's release
- see the Paym announcement

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