Battle of the challengers: Revolut vs N26

Together with my team I advise early stage FinTech startups on almost any challenge they may face. I sometimes feel like Ray Donovan, but obviously without the dead bodies ;)

In some cases we can advise more pro actively, and for this matter we use the best partners and tools out there. I decided to share with you a few articles on this topic. Let’s get to it!

30.000 feet view

When you were stuck lost in a forest, around very high and intimidating trees, with no sense of where you are or who is around you, you wish you could soar, 30.000 feet high in the sky, and have a better look at things. Then all fear would diminish, since you would know where you stand, and who is around you. More important, if there is anything scary surrounding you.

Now Banks do not get lost in forests, but the financial ecosystem resembles a jungle a lot. Because it is true, there are hundreds of Banks and fintechs around you at all times, newcomers entering the Market every single day, and you have no idea where you stand amongst this chaos. You know what you offer, and what some of your competitors offer as well.

But wouldn’t it be incredible to fly 30.000 up in the financial ecosystem, and find out what everyone offers with a couple of clicks? More than that, evaluate the User Experience anyone provides, using a universal methodology that applies to everyone?

We found out, a few months ago, that any Bank can actually now do that, with a digital banking research platform called FinTech Insights, by Scientia.

It was hard to believe, and we are well aware, so for that reason we are going to show you a real example of how these guys do it, by examining what Revolut and N26 offers.

Both Challengers are incredible Banks. Their number of users (12 mil for Revolut, 6.5 mil for N26 source) , as of August 2020, is living proof that people are drawn to the vast pool of Functionalities they offer, as well as how easily they made Banking fun and *most importantly* understandable. They managed to make day-to-day banking a fun activity.

Who would have thought?

PFM Tools

Both Challengers offer a lot of things for their users to do. Apart from the usual, e.g Accounts, Money Transfers, Cards they also offer unique Functionalities for every one of their services they offer.

In the last few years, a lot of buzz has been surrounding PFM tools. What are PFM tools you ask? Well they are features that help banks and fintechs, identify where a certain transaction come from, meaning from which vendor, help you set Goals to save money for that oh so amazing vacation that you always wanted to go to Santorini, or budget your expenses because it seems like you are spending a lot in take out this month.

Business Insider, in their latest article state that:

 And as the PFM industry becomes more and more saturated with these digital competitors, legacy players are being forced to improve their own suite of personal finance tools.

So what do Revolut and N26 offer in their PFM? Have they stepped up their game or do you need an external PFM tool to handle your finances? Which one of these two offers more and what?

But then another question comes up. And that question is: Who offers PFM in a more user friendly way? Revolut or N26?

Because your Bank may offer me lots of options on how to categorise my money and set multiple goals for my money, but will it take me 5min or 5 days and a Phd to figure out how to do it?

Let’s let the number speak for themselves.

It seems that for PFM, the overall UX score is higher in N26 vs Revolut Metal.

This number is the offered UX score out of a 1000 -which for Scientia is the perfect UX score, and they perfectly explain why here, and you can find out how they came up with these scores-. This is an average number for the User Experience one gets, across all channels (iOS, Android, Web). There isn’t much interpretation behind it but if we deep dive into it, it starts to make sense.

 

WHAT GIVES ME THIS USER EXPERIENCE?

In order for us to talk about User Experience, we need to take a step back and see where this experience came from. To put it in simpler terms, which Functionalities offered us this experience.

[a]

The first analysis compares the amount of functionalities offered by each challenger across multiple platforms. We find that Revolut Metal has a broader offering for mobile channels, (and even more so for iOS users) than N26.

N26 has included some functionalities in their Web channel as well, less than 10 actually. Which means if you want to access N26 from the Web, you don’t get the entire range of Functionalities they provide.

To have lots of functionalities does not necessarily mean that they are offering the best overall User Experience. According to scientia, N26’s UX is better than Revolut across all channels.

This is a problem we often come across in the Banking world. Banks and fintechs want to include everything in their digital banking, going as far to want to include everything ever found in PFM.

And that can actually be feasible. But there has to be an equilibrium between offering a wide range of functionalities, accompanied by great UX. You can offer incredible features to your customers, but in the end of the day, are they going to be able to do it fast and easy?

Ground Level

So far we have seen who offers more, and how many. We have just quantified functionalities. What about an actual comparison? Do they share things in common? Does N26 have something Revolut doesn’t? And if so, what is it?

[b]

This graph, called Gap Analysis and is specifically made for the PFM category, took us about 6 clicks to have and answers all our questions.

Here is the information we have:

  • 10 functionalities are shared between Revolut & N26 for both mobile apps
  • Revolut has 15 Functionalities that N26 does not have in their iOS app
  • N26 for their iOS has only 3 functionalities that Revolut does not have for both iOS & Android
  • Revolut has 9 Functionalities that N26 does not have in their iOS app

Now that’s not a bad thing. As we said you don’t need to have everything in your digital banking offering. And maybe you don’t want to because some of these functionalities that your competition is offering are not interesting to you, or at all. Maybe they will not be useful to your customers, Or even better, maybe you don’t have them for a reason, because they shouldn’t be there in the first place.

So before your entire Product Roadmap team starts jumping into conclusions from ...numbers, let’s see exactly which these functionalities are. Only then you can really know if you need or should implement new features.

One more click gave us this handy graph.

These are Revolut’s unique functionalities in iOS that N26 does not possess. Now you can make accurate decisions about your strategy if you are part of Revolut’s team.

And since we don’t pick sides, here’s what you need if you are part of N26’s team.

Microscope

Now let’s put both Challengers under the microscope and examine their UX thoroughly.

Starting from a very real problem I recently came across.

COVID19 changed our lives entirely. It also changed the way we shop, since it was not possible in some cases to go to an actual store. While in quarantine, we had to order pretty much everything online. Including groceries. We made a couple of orders per month, and used both of these Challengers to pay for them. But those orders, since they were not from a big, well-known supermarket, were mistakenly categorized under online purchases via their PFM.

When the end of the month came around we wanted to see how much we spent on groceries. So we had to manually recategorise them under the Groceries category in the PFM.

Was it easy?

Maybe we should ask, who made it easier?

[c]

These flowcharts show us the step by step process a user has to take in order to recategorise an executed transaction. As we can see the difference in the number of steps is not that big. Nor would we say any of these Challengers offers worse UX than the other. Here are though, some key differences for both of them.

  • Revolut’s flowchart has more steps, because they have a completely different UI structure than N26. That does not mean that they have a more complex UI.
  • Revolut offers the option to re-categorize not only this particular transaction, but alike transactions as well. This is not a bad thing at all, but for this specific User Journey it is an addition that the user does not want to have. This is why flowcharts are important and UX is not only about a score. It gives you insights for the structure of the User Journeys as well.
  • Since the UX scores are very close (Revolut-830, N26-930) it comes down to such minor details, as well as the users preference. But it is very nice to see how small details in features or even a button placement can change the UX.

Do you want me to wrote more comparison articles like this? Or would you like to make them yourself by using this FinTech Insights tool? Shoot me a message for a demo!

[a]This graph shows the Functionalities in PFM only. We can also add other graphs but I think that then the article will become very long with a lot of topics. Let me hear your thoughts

[b]I suggest we add some lines to the graph, because the colors for the functionalities they share in common, along with the functionalities that N26 has (because of its primary coloro) are the same and it's not very readable.

[c]I have given access to the folder where I have made the flowcharts with the logos.

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