Barclays is leading the way when it comes to the UK's banks embracing mobile banking, coming top of a new report in terms of customer functionality.
Forrester Research's Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark, which analysed seven retail banks regarding 35 criteria, ranked Barclays as the best mobile banking service around at this time, with Santander and Lloyds close behind.
The report hailed Barclays' major investment into mobile banking, as the firm was the first to market its services in the UK. It highlights the bank's 'digital vault' service in particular, which allows customers to access electronic statements, upload other documents by taking a photo, and set reminders, as well as the ability for customers to report a card lost or stolen entirely in-app and view simple money management visualisations across both smartphones and tablets.
"Barclays has spent time and money on mobile - and it shows," Forrester analyst Stephen Walker wrote in a blog post. The company has introduced several alternative payment methods recently, including its bPay 'pay by wristband' service and its Pingit app, which lets users make payments via a mobile phone number.
Santander's mobile app came in second place, with the report hailing both its dedicated tablet app and mobile website, strong money movement capabilities and helpful in-app alert management, with Lloyds, the only UK bank to let customers add a payee entirely in-app, ranked third.
Elsewhere, last year's highest-ranking bank, NatWest, dropped to fifth place, behind HSBC in fourth, with Nationwide in sixth and the Co-operative making up the rest of the banks analysed.
The report also noted how, despite a slow start, UK banks are now at the forefront of supporting research into mobile banking, highlighting Santander's mobile-optimised mortgage and loan calculators, HSBC's Financial Health Check-Up service and Barclays' loan calculator with integrated money management visualisations as particularly pioneering services.
"It is no secret that UK banks were slow to take mobile banking seriously," Walker wrote.
"UK banks now do well where it matters most to customers - across money movement, balance checking and transaction history search. Some of last year's laggards have overtaken last year's leaders, and many UK banks now offer mobile sales functionality - ahead even of their peers internationally."