Ever since the iPhone was launched, it had been thought that First Direct, traditionally very innovative in an industry that can be slow embracing the web, would be one of the first banks to develop an app for it, but they’d held out until now.
The reason for the delay? Well, First Direct argued that they had a mobile website that could cater for mobile banking with any type of smartphone, not just iPhones.
There was also a reluctance to develop an app just go the sake of it – if they were going to build one, it needed to be good.
Banking on the go
So what are our initial inpressions of the First Direct iPhone app?
Well, for starters, it’s free, as you would expect. First Direct have called it Banking On The Go, and you’ll need to be a First Direct customer registered for online banking to use it.
The app allows you to view your latest 20 account transactions, make payments and transfer money between accounts. It’s these features that First Direct claim make it the first “true transactional” banking app for the iPhone in the UK. Whilst it’s definitely a move forward from other banking apps, it’s still hard to get too excited by the functionality, as it’s pretty much what you’d expect. In any case, it’s probably good that they’re starting simply, they can easily add new features to the app in the future.
List of accounts held with First Direct:
Making a transfer:
A list of recent transactions:
Matt Colebrook, the CEO of First Direct had this to say about the app:
This is about our customers, we want them to be proud to say ‘I bank with first direct’. 21 years ago, first direct changed the face of banking when it became the first UK financial institution to allow customers to do their banking whenever they wanted via phone. We were amongst the leaders in taking this
experience online and today we continue to innovate. This time it’s about making the banking experience simpler and quicker, allowing our iPhone enabled customers to access key features of our internet banking; whenever they want and wherever they want.
The iPhone App is as a huge step forward, but it’s just the beginning of our ambitions for mobile banking. Our plans for 2011 are to make our ‘on the go’ mobile service available on other smartphone devices.
We chose to go with the iPhone first because that’s where our customers are. Over the last 12 months, the iPhone has grown to become the 6th largest source of visitors to our website and whilst Android is growing rapidly, it’s nowhere near the iPhone just yet.
Naturally, on the day of its launch, the app has jumped to the top of the personal finance iPhone app chart, so it will be getting some pretty interesting feedback in the following weeks. If you’ve used the app, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Is it better than the mobile website? What else would you like to see it do? Let us know in the comments below.