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3 interesting updates in desktop banking

Desktop banking came first. It came before mobile banking and, in many countries, it’s still a frequently used banking channel.

As the more established platform, desktop banking is already mature in terms of basic functionality. Most banks are now looking to give customers a clearer understanding of their finances as well as elevate the customer experience with the help of new technology. There is also a focus on making websites easier to navigate.

Following are three interesting updates, from banks in our Desktop Banking Monitor, which have been implemented in the last six months.

Public site chatbots

NatWest recently introduced a chatbot it to its public site. Assist, as it’s called, provides customers with answers to basic product-based questions and public site navigation questions. Although the bank is not the first to introduce a chatbot to its public site, it is the first one in recent times.

NatWest Assist - website chatbot

Lloyds Bank has a similar feature in the Online Help section of its public site; however, it is not immediately accessible. The feature was added a while ago so the layout looks a little outdated now.

Mapa analyst Jack Flowers comments, ‘While there’s still room for improvement, NatWest Assist is one step above other providers. It is easily accessible, on the right hand side of most pages on the public site. More importantly, it adds convenience to the customer.’

Mapa analysts are excited by the potential of chatbots however, they have not experienced any truly human-like conversations so far.

Simplified navigation

The desktop banking experience must evolve along with mobile banking experiences, and user experiences in other sectors. Overall, the trend is to declutter the user interface. Over the past six months we have seen banks streamline user journeys and make their websites easier to navigate.

Swedbank recently redesigned the layout of its secure site and opted for a left-side navigation panel, for all its account servicing features. The new version has more white space and is reminiscent of a mobile banking app.

Swedbank Navigation Redesign

Earlier this year, Nationwide made a change to its public site navigation, giving it a pop-down menu with many more options and categorisation (for new and existing customers) to its links. While the menu takes up much more space, it is now much easier to find the right page.

Nationwide Navigation Redesign

PFM tools

Commonwealth Bank added PFM functionality to its secure site. The new tool enables customers to manually enter their monthly expenditure, then view a pie chart of their disposable income to help them budget. A noteworthy aspect of this feature is the exhaustive list of categories to which customers can assign their previous transactions. However, as it requires such an amount of manual input from the customer, one could question what the uptake rates will be.

CommonWealth Bank Budget Planner

‘While the Commbank PFM tool is clunky, it has potential. The average customer isn’t going to update this chart every time they make a purchase; it doesn’t work well for repeat use. The bank has to automate the process, like challengers (Monzo and Starling bank) do, in order to offer real value to customers,’ says Flowers.

Banks are certainly developing their desktop platforms and integrating new technology into their propositions. However, some of the new updates could be made more robust. From a customer perspective, they don’t always live up to the expectation created by the instant gratification of the mobile channel, where more often customers enjoy a seamless user experience.

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