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Sia Partners 2021 International Mobile Banking Benchmark

A study on the current state of mobile banking in the EMEA, Asia and North-American regions and a peek into the future.

Context and Scope of Sia Partners’ Mobile Banking Benchmark

Bitcoin, ESG, Neobanks, Open Data and Robinhood investors are just some of the disruptve trends within the traditional banking market. International media is currently awash with articles and think pieces on the changing Financial Services & FinTech landscape. Digitalization of banking services across the globe is happening at a fast pace driven by a multitude of factors: the emergence of new technologies, heightened client expectations, new entrants, digital wallets, and regulatory developments, among others. 

In this context, Sia Partners' 2021 benchmark assessed the performance of 135 banks in 17 countries (across Europe, Middle East, North-Africa, Asia & North-America). The banks were noted on 3 scoring streams: functionalities, user experience (UX), and customer app store ratings. The rating covers 85+ criteria from 13 categories. The key functionalities along the customer journey are assessed ranging from account opening and daily banking features to new product subscription, investing, and account closure, among others. 

The Mobile Banking Benchmark is growing year on year. The fourth edition of the benchmark delivers insights into key players to watch, pitfalls to avoid, and general trends within the banking sector.

Key numbers highlighted in Sia Partners’ 2021 Mobile Banking Benchmark



The benchmark methodology is based on three key streams with a simple and transparent scoring method. The 4-point scale with standardized answer possibilities for each criterion guarantees comparability and transparency and removes subjectivity.

  • 50% of the final score comes from Functionalities. This stream contains features related to Accounts, Cards, Transfers, Payment Services, Investments, Insurance, Credit, User Support and Beyond & Open Banking
  • 30% of the final score is based on User Experience. Criteria related to simplicity, navigation, feel, design & ergonomy are assessed.
  • 20% of the final score is retrieved from an average of Google Play store and Apple App store ratings.

Changes in the top rankings of banks for the 2021 edition

Neobank and Belgian banks dominate as the top 3 Digital Leaders and are fighting internally for the podium. KBC replaces Revolut as the winner whilst Belfius moves towards the silver medal. Overall, Europe takes the crown as the best region. Digital Leaders tend to offer more innovative services and complete end-to-end digital offerings, even for non-daily banking functionalities.

Certain regions are lagging behind (Germany, Luxembourg, Middle East, North Africa, North America,..) and still need to prioritize daily banking features above others. Whereas the digital leading countries are already in the next phase, implementing innovative and advanced features related to insurance, investment, beyond banking, etc.

The top banks are:

  1. KBC/CBC (Belgium)
  2. Belfius (Belgium)
  3. Revolut (Neobank)
  4. Barclays (United Kingdom)
  5. N26 (Neobank)
  6. Intesa Sanpaolo (Italy)
  7. Rabobank (The Netherlands)
  8. Monzo (Neobank)
  9. Starling (Neobank)
  10. Boursorama (France)
  11. Illimity (Neobank)


Graphic Digital leaders, Challengers, Followers and runners up

Key takeaways to become, or remain a Digital Leader

The steps listed below are not necessarily a sequential path to be followed by banks. However, we have observed that this kind of sequential path is followed by the majority of banking players. 

  1. Ensure that the appropriate up-to-date digital (back end) infrastructure is in place as a foundation building block, and phase out legacy IT systems.
  2. Implement key daily banking functionalities, increasing daily client interaction and enhance top/bottom line (revenue generation, save FTE intervention cost)
  3. Provide a smooth, intuitive and interactive omnichannel customer journey all along the way with CTA, (live) assistance, and moments of truth when developing mobile features.
  4. Enable digital end-to-end (sales) journeys, for basic products (e.g. savings account) as well as subscription of advanced offerings (e.g. credit, insurance, and investment).
  5. Implement innovative (beyond banking, PFM,..) services, provide added value to users and prioritize the banking app as the key channel for everyday use.
  6. Create brand ambassadors from your clients resulting in high Customer Lifetime Value, favorable NPS scoring, and word of mouth advertising.

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