New digital banks are winning the race with High Street banks when it comes to attracting users from the accounting profession, according to the latest figures from AccountingWEB’s 2019 software awards survey.
To reflect the growing interest in digital banking and payments we added a new banking app category to this year’s Accounting Excellence Software Awards. With the race now in full swing to find the UK’s most popular banking app, Countingup and Cashplus have the highest number of ratings, with signs of life from Tide, Starling and Coconut communities.
All of these new contenders have been talking up their overall user numbers in recent months, but they are still dwarfed by the millions of small businesses that bank with the big High Street brands. Could it be that the new wave banks are in closer touch with their customers and are trying harder to earn their endorsements?
That would be a symbolic outcome for this year’s awards, but we’re sure that there are businesses out there that use banking apps from the likes of Barclays, Lloyds and HSBC.
The low turnout from RBS/NatWest users is curious, since the banking group owns FreeAgent and offers it as a free option to business customers who have turned out in their hundreds to rate the online bookkeeping system.
As well as helping us to pick the industry’s top banking apps, we hope to collect enough information to add banking apps to our Software Reviews comparisons to help businesses and their accountants find the most suitable products for their needs.
Whatever banking app you use, we’d like to hear what you think about it. With fintech growing in importance in recent years, we have opted to sample and assess user experiences with apps as a means of measuring the spread of financial technology within the profession.
As well as stimulating the rise of challenger banks such as Starling, Tide, Monzo and Cashplus, we are also seeing hybrid banking/accounting services such as Countingup and Coconut that are building accounting and reporting processes into their business bank accounts.
Intuit QuickBooks and Xero are coming from the other direction and positioning their systems as platforms for small business payments and loans, driven partly by open banking initiative, a set of standard application programming interfaces (APIs) to channel payments and transaction data in and out of bank accounts to authorised third party providers.
The big banks also face competition from smaller companies being funded by the RBS restitution fund, which last week awarded £5m grants to five companies looking to expand their presence in the alternative finance market. The Banking Competition Board that oversees the RBS fund granted £120m to Metro Bank, £100m to Starling and £60m to Tide and Clear Bank to support their bank account developments.
The battle lines have been drawn, but we need your help to find out whether the high street giants are losing market share to the new challengers. RATE YOUR APPS NOW in the 2019 AccountingWEB software survey.
About John Stokdyk
AccountingWEB’s Head of Insight has been with the site since 1999 and likes to spend his time studying accountants’ technology habits. When not nerding out, you can find him exploring obscure indie music and searching for the perfect organic sourdough loaf from his base in Brighton, UK.