Agility, mobile app release management & customer satisfaction : today the neobanks are winning


Number of updates for mobile banking applications

As part of its rating of the digital performance of European retail banks, D-Rating includes elements related to the number of updates of mobile applications (iOS and Android). Our rating looks at both the total number and the number of core updates i.e. the ability to evolve the mobile application and thus meet customer needs vs. being able to patch quickly.

Both topics are important in terms of customer satisfaction. To illustrate the impact on customer satisfaction of a recent application redesign of a French bank with no capacity to make quick fixes in relation to user dissatisfaction.

“Very disappointed by the V30 discovered yesterday, without prior com by the way, on my smartphone. This version does not allow bug tracking and especially impossible to find my history to continue my analytical tracking. I used it for 2 years almost every day. I’m going to uninstall it, it doesn’t bring anything more than the web page. I really don’t understand the abandonment of this feature.”

mobile-app average-ratings

Evolution of monthly average of mobile app satisfaction (number of stars)
for a traditional French Bank in 2022

We can see that the deployment of a new version of the mobile application had a deleterious impact on user satisfaction (from June 2022) with almost only 1 star or 2 stars scores (and many user complaining that giving 0 star was not possible); during October (more than 3 months later) the situation does not seem to have improved even if there were new updates.

The ability to multiply updates (evolution and/or patches) seems to us to be one of the key indicators of the agility of the retail banks we evaluate.

Beyond the quantitative aspects, D-Rating also looks at the evolution of the different mobile applications. Our Business Intelligence service allows us to follow in real time the addition of new features in the banks’ mobile applications (you can test our Market Alerts service for 60 days by registering here:

It may be good to set up squads, tribes, chapters and guilds (actually not because it was the result of a long learning process at Spotify and not a copy-and-paste model as we have seen so often), however it is mainly the result seen from the customer that we should look at.

Comparison between types of banks

We wanted to know if the nature of the bank had an influence on the frequency of mobile application updates. Where we are used to separate banks with bank branches on one side and remote banks on the other, here the comparison seems interesting if we segment remote banks a little more. On one side the digital banks subsidiaries of the traditional network banks (Boursorama – Société Générale, Keytrade – Crédit Mutuel Arkea, Openbank – Grupo Santander, Widiba – Gruppo Montepaschi di Siena…) and on the other the neo-banks (N26, bunq, Revolut…).


Mean and distribution of the number of Mobile App updates per type of banks
 for the last 12 months

What we see is that there are great similarities between the pace of updating the mobile applications of traditional banks and those of their digital subsidiaries, and that neo-banks seem to be in a class of their own.

Correlation is not causation of course, but history, organization and culture seem to have a strong impact on this agility issue and that digital banks subsidiaries of large banking groups are “handicapped” by the organizational and decision process complexity inherent in this type of organization.

Of course, this is just a snapshot of a 12-month history that can evolve (and has already evolved, the rates observed were much lower when we started to evaluate the digital performance of banks 5 years ago).

What will the future brings ?

We bet that the rates will converge quite quickly. On the one hand, the big groups will continue to invest in responding (as quickly as possible) to improve customer satisfaction. And on the other hand, the neobanks, as they need to survive, will have to either reinforce and segment their banking offer (premium accounts, new products…) and therefore make the whole thing more complex which will have an impact release management, or to be bought by traditionnal banking groups and thus be integrated into their mode of operation.

If you want to read more