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Who Has The Best Banking App In South Africa?

Author: Melissa Wentzel
Date: 2017-06-14
All of the big banks have come to market with banking apps, but whose provides the most customer satisfaction and reliability?
Banking is one of the most talked about industries on social media. It’s where the job gets done, am-I-right? Which is why – along with surveys, indexes, and personal reviews – social media is where one goes to gauge consumer sentiment these days. But we looked at all of the above to determine the best of the banking apps offered by South Africa’s five big banks.

The Battle Of The Banking Apps

Social Media

BrandsEye CEO, JP Kloppers, shared some of the banking app insights they gleaned in 2016 when they analysed the social media space, with CNBC. At the time, there were vastly more mentions of the FNB app (7 263) compared to any of the others. Absa came in second at 4 284 mentions, and Nedbank staggered in last at only 1 433. But when it came to actual sentiment, Capitec received the most positive feedback. Capitec, who’ve brought a great app to market, provides a lot of what can be done in a branch to their customer's mobile devices. Absa, who came behind Capitec in positive sentiment, has an app described as exceptionally user-friendly. Kloppers reports that what Absa did that a lot of the other banks (like Standard Bank and Nedbank) didn’t do, was make the data to use the app, free.
Kloppers said it’s one of the biggest factors influencing sentiment on social media towards the banks. “You run out of data and you go into the app, and the app still works,” he explains.
Now, FNB, Capitec, and ABSA, all offer free data when using the app. FNB also allows users to be able to call the bank from within the app, without using any airtime. Kloppers says Standard Bank received a lot of negative sentiment across the board, not just with regard to the app.
“They’ve probably got some things to address in their customer experience journey,” said Kloppers. He confirmed that Standard Bank did also experience the most incidences where their online banking platforms (including their app) was offline.

Surveys And Indexes

That said, social media consensus isn’t a ‘controlled test’ as certain banks have a bigger online audience than others. When it comes down to real, hard facts, the survey and the index prevail. And according to the South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SACSI), FNB comes out tops in the digital category. It was announced in March this year, that FNB was ranked the best in all digital banking channels among the five major banks. And not just for the Banking App category, but also the Retail Online Banking, Small Business Online Banking, Wealth Online Banking, Enterprise Business Online Banking, and Cellphone Banking categories. The survey revealed that the FNB app leads on all attributes surveyed under the Banking App category. It was also revealed that FNB clients had higher expectations of banking apps than other banks’ clients. The Internet Banking SITEisfaction Survey, which measures internet banking quality and user experience in South Africa, also voted FNB best banking app in 2016.
  • FNB received a customer satisfaction score of 81/100;
  • Capitec followed with 72/100;
  • Absa and Standard Bank tied in third place, with a score of 70/100;
  • Nedbank was last with a score of 66.

Personal Reviews

Earlier this year, staff at Personal Finance used and reviewed each of the five banking apps. Since we know that app banking is generally simple to use, convenient, and safer than online- and cellphone banking, we looked at their comments on innovation and reliability.

Absa Banking App

Google Play Store Rating: 3.4/5 (4 284) Apple App Store Rating: 2/5 (14) and ‘App from Absa' 4/5 (402) Innovation: “The new, updated Absa app does not use up any of your data allocation … My biggest gripe with both apps is their failure to enable users to set budgets on their accounts and receive warnings when they are close to the limit.”
Reliability: “I have been using both the Absa app and the Standard Bank app for three-and-a-half years and the Absa one seems more reliable … The Absa app has always worked on Sundays, when I have time to do my banking, while the Standard Bank one is often offline on that day.”

Capitec Remote Banking

Google Play Store Rating: 4.3/5 (15 687) Apple App Store Rating: 4.4/5 (25) Innovation: “Capitec’s app … indicates … you’re a good or a bad risk… New features of the latest version include the ability to: stop and/or dispute debit orders; buy airtime in custom amounts; pay a Capitec Bank client using their verified cell phone number, and email yourself e-stamped statements…”
Reliability: “I’ve been using the app for five months, and not once has it been down for maintenance or offline – at least as far as I am aware.”

FNB Banking App

Google Play Store Rating: 4.2/5 (22 700) Apple App Store Rating: 2.5/5 (12) Innovation: “There’s no specific innovation in the app that warrants crowing about; rather, FNB’s record of innovation … is reflected in the app.”
Reliability: “I’ve used the app for what seems like years. If I have any criticism, it is minor: the app sometimes shuts down, but that could be because I’ve been putting it through its paces, trying to do too many things too quickly in a poor-signal area.”

Nedbank South Africa

Google Play Store Rating: 3.6/5 (4 603) Apple App Store Rating: 1.4 (16) Innovation: A “Simply Biz Locator” button allows you to search for a business nearby … the Market Watchlist function … allows you to enter a share name and features the time of the last trade and price per share…”
Reliability: “As a new user, I was surprised to discover that banking services were unavailable on two occasions, neither of which would logically fall into a “scheduled maintenance” window.”

Standard Bank / Stanbic Bank

Google Play Store Rating: 3.6/5 (11 400) Apple App Store Rating: 3/5 (21) Innovation: Not Reviewed.
Reliability: “…users have complained about random crashes and being unable to access their accounts after updating from the previous version. Despite my ageing and faulty smartphone, I have had no problems logging in at various times of day. Payments were processed quickly and my first pre-paid electricity purchase went through without a hitch.” Read More about how much banks are charging you for fees below

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