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HSBC, RBS preparing to launch app-based banking platforms

By Elena Berton

The British banking giants are readying to launch new mobile banking services to take on start-up rivals such as Monzo and Revolut

British banking giants HSBC and RBS are readying to launch new digital banking platforms to fend off competition from online start-ups.

HSBC has rolled out HSBC Kinetic, a new mobile business banking service currently in beta mode, while by year-end RBS plans to launch, a new online-only bank to compete against fast-growing start-ups such as Monzo and Revolut.

Virtual app-only banks have signed up millions of customers over the past few years, promising quick sign-up, ease of use, good service and low fees.

As a result, traditional lenders in the UK have been investing heavily to revamp their digital services to meet customer demand.

Aimed at small business, HSBC Kinetic plans to offer mobile-managed current accounts and overdrafts as well as spending and cashflow insights generated by the app, based on the company’s spending habits.

A full launch of the service, which links into HSBC’s existing back-end banking system, is expected in the first half of 2020.

RBS’s Bó, on the other hand, plans to focus on the 17 million UK residents who have less than £100 in savings, chief executive Mark Baillie said in an interview earlier this year.

The app will analyse customer spending data in order to nudge customers towards ways of saving money, including switching to a cheaper utility or phone contract.

RBS already operates an app-based business account aimed at small and medium-sized business customers in the UK. The Mettle mobile app combines a business current account and debit card with simple invoicing, payment chasing and bookkeeping features.

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