The Digital Proposition module’s rating campaign for 2022 has been finished by D-Rating in accordance with its annual Digital Performance campaign results planning. This specific research examines every product, digital effort, and service made available to customers through the web and mobile apps.
Data for this study was gathered in collaboration with « mystery shoppers, » who are actual customers of the banks being evaluated, by looking at more than 300 indicators.
Neobanks and « newbies » who are challenging the status quo in the retail banking market are included in the scope for the year 2022, along with « traditional » players who are well-established in the banking scene. The D-Rating German banks panel has been chosen to reflect the competitive environment of the market and to meet our clients’ demands.
Digital Proposition Germany’s Results
Since our initial analysis was conducted in 2020, the German market has evolved. The great performance of some banks (and especially Commerzbank) that have developed their applications and questioned the validity of neobanks’ competitive advantage may be observed.
This year we added Tomorrow and Vivid Money to the panel because of their interesting positioning on Green Banking aspects on the one hand and on Cryptocurrencies and Cashback on the other. We had also planned to analyze Nuri which, like Vivid Money, was powered by Solaris but unfortunately disappeared at the time of our campaign launch
The top 4 is in order: Consorsbank, Comdirect, ING Germany and Commerzbank. It’s far different from Belgium market for example where the top 3 positions are trusted by traditional (i.e. not pure digital) banks i.e. KBC, Belfius and ING Belgium.
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Consorsbank performs very well in all three areas of evaluation. In particular, like its French sisters BNP Paribas and Hellobank! it has excellent results in the customer support area.
Commerzbank is notably improving on expert support and all the progress made on digital journeys allow Commerzbank to increase its positioning by 7 places in the D-Rating ranking.
ING Bank improving overall, especially on access to offers web and app.
Positioning of Comdirect is mainly due to their high score on digital features evaluation.
The best in their lane
The Digital Proposition score aggregates 3 domain score:
Offers & Journeys includes access to offers from web and mobile application as a customer to main banking products and the digitization of the account opening process (on-boarding) as an entry point to the banks’ services. The best performer of this domain is Consorsbank, as explained earlier, it has scored the best in access to offers from its mobile application to personal loan and share account thanks to the global digitalization of the subscription and the immediate access to both products. It is one of rare banks in Europe to include mobile insurance in their digital account offer. Consorsbank strategy to offer a digital and fluid customer experience on the investment and depot account with a chat always there whenever you need help ensures them to the first place in Germany on this domain.
Customer Support maps out the help tools provided to customers either to reply to and instant need through chats, chatbots and FAQs or an expertise need with inbox, contact forms, callbacks and appointment scheduling. The best performer is Consorsbank, HVB comes next with its outstanding appointment scheduling journey, offering the possibility to book a remote call via video regarding a specific topic. HVB’s chatbot is also among the most performant in Europe. Alongside a performant FAQ section allowing their client to receive a strong instant support which lead them to clinch the first place in Germany on this domain.
Features domain lists for both the app and the web, the existing functionalities pertaining to account management, card setting, PFM and budgeting or even sustainability or biometric authentication tools. Unsurprisingly, N26 is the best performer in features, scoring highest with innovative initiatives such as the possibility of downloading a receipt for each transaction, their vast notification possibilities. We must also precise that the possibility of using a virtual card before receiving the physical one help N26 achieving those results in Germany for this domain.
Alerting features are very common in Germany
The composition of the panel of banks studied in Germany (relatively more digital banks than in the other countries studied) may have an impact on the results for this category of functionality. In any case, the results show a generalized implementation since it goes from nearly 2/3 for the alert regarding card payment limit to 100% for the notification for salary or large deposit (the D-Rating methodology consists mainly in looking at the extent to which it is possible for the client to set these alerts).
On the other hand, what we see through our market alert tool (developed internally by D-Rating, that allows banks to get notified of application updates showing newly added features by competitors) is that the main areas that have been subject to updates by German banks for 2022 include features related to Financial products, interface updates, cards, account management and personal finance management. And the importance of Financial products is undoubtedly linked to changes in the behavior of Germans, given the current interest rates, making them switch to more equity-oriented products, which in turn makes the banks focus on the development of the corresponding features.
Germany : reinforced commercial activity rather than client base development
As in Scandinavia and even more so in Belgium, the number of users of digital channels – both app and web of German banks- is declining in Q4 2022, compared to the same period in 2021. Added to the difficulty D-Rating testers met to open accounts at various national players, it suggests a shift in the competition between banks from expanding their client bases to increased commercial activity with the existing consumer base.
A few groups stand out beyond this general market trend, and this takes on a particular resonance if we consider that the evolution of the number of users of digital channels represents in the most digitalized countries – such as Germany – a reflection of the evolution of active customers. DKB‘s retail banking Apps have lost 30% of users between the last quarter of 2021 and the same period in 2022, while Commerzbank‘s has increased by 9%. Note also that the period of very strong growth for N26 seems to be over, in its home country itself, with a limited increase of 4%.
We also note that the average number of sessions per customer is almost stable on the App (+0.7%) and is down via the Web (-0.9%). This point can be contrasted with the extended alerting offer that prevails in Germany (see above), which reduces the need for connections related to « everyday banking » (checking balances, the arrival of expected payments…). On the other hand, the number of sessions is more than one third higher in the case of the institutions that have most strongly developed brokerage (Consorsbank and ING), justifying frequent visits by clients of these services.