Top five UK retail bank websites
Co-operative Bank is the UK retail bank with the best content and functionality on its website, according to independent research firm, Forrester Research.
The research also revealed that about 60% of UK internet users have used bank websites to find out about financial products in the last year. And 40% have applied for a product online.
The websites of the ten largest retail banks were evaluated with Forrester using its Website Functionality Benchmark.
The top five UK retail bank websites:
1. The Co-operative Bank
5. Lloyds TSB
Forrester said that given the popularity of using the web to research and apply for financial services amongst UK consumers, the banks have been slow to develop their sites.
Out of a possible 100, the Co-op scores 64 points, with its site doing “well in supporting the user both in researching and in applying for a current account online”.
The site excels in attracting customers with effective campaigns and provides well structured and complete product information and educational content. It also earns a high score in post-application support by providing detailed information on the next steps, both online and via e-mail.
Natwest claims second spot with a score of 59, followed by Santander on 57, Barclays 53, Lloyds TSB 51, Halifax 50, first direct 47, HSBC 43, Nationwide 36 and Yorkshire Bank on a lowly 15.
No Web site is good across the board, says Forrester, with banks that provide excellent content and functionality in some areas fail to meet the standards in other aspects.
First direct, for example, does well at attracting users and providing product information but “is surprisingly weak for a direct bank in supporting product applications”. Santander’s site is good in the attraction phase and also does well in supporting the application for a current account “but fails to provide clear and well-structured product information, comparisons, or selection tools”.
There is a clear incentive for banks to improve their sites because, says Forrester, almost 60% of British Net users have researched a financial product online in the past 12 months, more than in any other European country. In addition, 40% have applied for a financial product online in the past year, double the European average.
“Although UK customers are among the most likely anywhere in the world to research and buy financial products online, the nation’s retail banks have been oddly slow to develop world-class Web sites,” said Forrester analyst Vanessa Niemeyer. “The Co-operative Bank tops our review because it supports users who want to research and buy a current account in all phases of the customer journey.”
Yorkshire Bank came bottom of the table.