7 cutting-edge marketing examples of banking apps around the world

7 cutting-edge marketing examples of banking apps around the world

For financial institutions, apps are important channels for connecting with customers. However, there are common concerns that “the number of users show little growth” or they are “not making effective use of the customer base.” We will introduce examples of how financial institutions are marketing their apps.

CRM × Services

1. The United Kingdom’s Monzo Bank…Offers an “upside-down loan” that you can apply for later

Increasing the use of loans is an important subject for banks all around the world.

Monzo Bank has expanded the use of loans by including a very unique feature in their app using an “‘upside-down’ kind of loan.”

Generally, you apply for a loan before you buy something, but when users spend a certain amount on a particular transaction, Monzo Bank asks them, “Do you want to divide the payment for that transaction?” in the app. If you wish to divide up the payments and pay installments, the company has created a feature that allows you to take out a loan within the app.

The Monzo app’s Spread the cost lending feature. You can seamlessly choose the amount you want to borrow and the repayment date.

The company's unique service answers customer needs, contributing to its rapid growth.


2. Sweden’s Swedbank…A banking app for children to promote financial education

Sweden's Swedbank has involved the depositor’s entire family through an app.

In a consumer survey conducted by the company during the early stages of considering developing the app, it has become clear that
“Many parents feel that it is important to educate their children about money, but they feel reluctant to talk about money with their children.”

The banking app that Swedbank created to solve this problem includes features where
"Parents can set various 'tasks' in the app, and children can become explorers and travelers in the app and earn money by completing the 'tasks.’”

Since it is a banking app, children can manage the money they have saved on the app.
(Since children are the main users, the app's UI is similar to a game and the words and phrasing is easy to understand.)

Building the app around the concept of receiving pocket money in return for helping with housework, adding game elements, and including the notion of managing tasks and money can be said to be part of Swedbank’s initiative to promote financial education to children.

Swedish banks are also becoming more cashless and moving online, and liquidity among customers is increasing. This initiative by Swedbank may be also be aimed at drawing in the family members of their customers.


Both Monzo Bank and Swedbank are successful examples of how a bank combines CRM with their services.


3. France’s BNP Paribas Wealth Management…Effective utilization of highly loyal customer segments

One of the important factors when increasing the number of app downloads is user ratings on app stores such as Google Play and the Apple App Store. The more stars and positive reviews an app receives from users, the less reluctant new users will feel about downloading it for themselves.

France's BNP Paribas Wealth Management successfully leveraged existing app users to improve its ratings on app stores.

Rather than broadly disseminating information to all users of its app, BNP created segments based on user attributes and behavior.

In addition to using the segmentation to help send relevant and targeted in-app messages and push notifications, it was used to increase the number of app downloads.

Using a pop-up message within the app, BNP asked frequent and loyal app users to rate the app in the app store.

It's not hard to imagine that the more loyal a person is, the more likely they are to respond to actions requested from their financial institution and leave a favorable review.

In fact, after this measure, the company's app's App Store rating rose from a 2.5 to 4.


4. Ukraine’s Monobank…A virtuous cycle of creating buzz and increasing users with small, well-thought-out ideas

Monobank, a Ukrainian online bank, has been able to efficiently generate buzz around their app.

The company issues a Monobank card that allows you to make loans using the app.

In the early days of the service's launch, in order to increase the number of app downloads, Monobank implemented a strategy to send unique and cute cat cards to those who downloaded the app.

Example of a social media post by a customer who received a Monobank card

These cat cards were probably delivered as a surprise.
Those who received the cards shared their impressions and reactions through social media posts, which attracted new customers, creating a virtuous cycle.

Although it was a small, innovative idea, it successfully exceeded users' expectations, spreading the word about Monobank.

Eventually, Monobank acquired users for 45,000 Monobank cards three months earlier than expected target date.


5. The Philippines’ UnionBank…Promotions that captured consumer sentiment during the COVID-19 pandemic

UnionBank in the Philippines has taken a unique initiative to promote online banking.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company added a feature to its app that allows users to simulate the route to a nearest bank in a game-like way.

Image of game functions UnionBank published online

Entertaining users and demonstrating that online banking is better than going to the physical store at a time when society was under stress due to the stay-at-home orders turned out to been effective.



6. Austria’s Erste Bank…An app designed with the elderly in mind

Marketing to senior customers is also important around the world.

Erste Bank created a banking app for elderly people with a strong focus on usability.

When planning the app, the company tested five app ideas with 200 elderly people.

As a result, we found that typography and high contrast are extremely important for the elderly population, many of whom have poor eyesight.

Specifically, this knowledge was reflected in things like avoiding the use of the combination of similar colors on the UI (user interface) and ensuring enough space for action elements such as buttons.

In addition, when they conducted another user test, they found that
Font size needed to be approximately doubled
・Elderly people cannot see the navigation panel towards the bottom of the screen or understand the graphs on the main screen

As a result, they needed to make changes to the app they had originally envisioned.

This is a remarkable example demonstrating the importance of understanding the actual real-life experience among users.


7. Bitex in America & India...Color design tailored to each country's culture perception of colors

Bitex is a cryptocurrency / virtual currency bank led by fintech companies based in the United States and India.

As the company aims to expand globally, it designed colors to match each country’s culture perception of colors.
For example, in Asian countries, rising stock prices are often shown in red and falling stock prices in green, but in the West it is the reverse.

Example: London stock market website: Increases in stock prices are shown in green, and declines in stock prices are shown in red.

Since Bitex was planning to enter the European and American markets, this sense of color among was also reflected in the UI. This is a great example of the importance of color in finance-related apps.



What did you think?

The uniqueness of the services and promotional strategies were quite unique, but at the root at each, the following characteristics were observed:
The combination of CRM with services and promotions
・The refining of measures through segmentiong rather than implementing measures aimed at the entire customer base
・The designing of UI and UX based on the understanding the actual real-life experiences of users

I think there are quite a few elements, seen here today, that other banks can apply when designing their own apps.






Born and raised in the Bay Area, U.S.A, I was fascinated by the different social and purchasing behaviors between Japanese and American consumers. I studied communication for undergrad and international marketing for my graduate studies. My professional background is in bilingual recruitment and Japanese-English translation.


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リスキリングに取り組めない理由の半数は金銭面 時間的理由・学習支援の少なさもネックに【ベンド調査】

リスキリングに取り組めない理由の半数は金銭面 時間的理由・学習支援の少なさもネックに【ベンド調査】





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