Always on the Move

The shift towards mobile banking in Europe

Closely linked to the trend of challenger banking is mobile banking, a phenomenon which is gathering steam worldwide, from China and India to many countries in Europe. Consumers are following similar patterns: forsaking traditional retail banks in droves, instead turning to their mobile apps to handle common banking tasks such as making deposits, sending transfers, or checking account balances. With all the convenience and speed of mobile banking, one can’t help but wonder if there’s still a place for traditional retail banks in today’s world.

Examining consumer conversations is the perfect way to explore this question and others like it. Insights from millions of social media conversations can reveal important details about the state of the mobile banking industry, the leading companies, key demographics, and, perhaps most importantly, exactly what European mobile banking consumers care about.

As can be seen above, mobile banking discussion levels are growing among European banking consumers. At present, discussions average about 20,000 posts per month, a number which is gradually rising. What’s more, there are regular spikes in the discussion which take its level far above the average, likely related to major news mentions that spotlight the mobile banking industry.

At present, the majority of mobile banking discussion takes place in the United Kingdom and Ireland, with Luxembourg, Spain, and the Netherlands not too far behind. Most of Eastern Europe is not heavily discussing mobile banking, but this could potentially indicate an untapped market worthy of deeper exploration.

Everybody’s talkin’

Banks might be forgiven for assuming that the more consumers are talking about their product, the more of them are using it. It’s an easy trap to fall into, but the reality is that large discussion volumes can (and frequently do) also stem from consumers complaining about a certain product.  Let’s look at an example. The mobile app from major UK bank Barclays has the highest share of voice among European consumers. Mentions of the brand average between 30 and 40% of the overall share of voice for mobile banking. After Barclays, Spain’s Santander is the second most discussed mobile bank in Europe, followed by the UK’s HSBC and Rabobank of the Netherlands.

Size brings scrutiny

But sentiment analysis reveals a very different picture, and it’s one that none of these banks should be particularly pleased with.

It’s a sad reality that brands in some industries tend to only attract consumer discussion when it’s about something negative. Financial services is one of those industries, in which no news is often good news.

Sentiment analysis of the European mobile banking discussion reveals that the largest banks tend to be the ones that attract the largest amount of negative consumer sentiment. Discussions about mobile banking involving Lloyds, Barclay’s, ING, Santander, and HSBC all experience 30% or more of negative sentiment (Lloyds has the most, at 41% negative). In most cases, the corresponding positive sentiment scores are also low, with the exception of ING and Rabobank.

Although large banks tend to attract the highest conversation volumes, they should also keep in mind the potential for higher scrutiny and more customer criticism.

Safety first

Importantly, what issues are European mobile banking consumers most concerned about?

As cash becomes less commonly used, this feature might fall out of favour, but for the time being it’s a fairly straightforward one for banks to include in their mobile offering.


Mobile banking has made solid inroads among consumers in many countries around the world, including those in Europe. Clearly, it’s a trend that’s here to stay. But consumer discussion about a mobile banking brand doesn’t always mean it’s popular; indeed the opposite is often true. Larger banks should remember that greater share of voice brings greater potential for scrutiny. In addition, many mobile banking consumers are talking about their concerns around security, making this a key priority for any mobile bank wanting to gain lasting traction among European consumers.  

Want to learn more about emerging trends in the financial services industry in Europe? Download our Consumer Trends for Financial Service report now!

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