WARNING/SPOILER ALERT: This is going to be rant about bad user experience with my banks. If you’re in a good mood, please move on with with your day. Thank you.


Since I have moved to Mexico I have been in touch with a lot of banks, for personal and business reasons. I have three bank accounts, of which two are personal and one for my newly found business.

One thing that surprises me over and over, is how little these banks invest in ‘moments that matter’: crucial points in the overall journey that define the overall satisfaction and experience for your customer. Those are the moments that you want to excel, stand out, be different and amaze people. The tiny little moments that you realize: “yes, this brand is truly understanding me and really seems to care for me.”

Moments that matter for self-employed people

When you’re self-employed and traveling, there are a couple of things very important:

  • Being able to check your balance and perform financial actions from abroad (outside of Mexico), as I travel a lot
  • Being able to use a mobile application for that, as I’m often on the go
  • Being able to install that mobile app on multiple devices (e.g. personal and work telephone, iPad, etc.) as I have multiple

How I get my grey hair, one banking action at at time

Let’s look how my banks have completely ruined these moments for me:

  • HSBC doesn’t allow me to install the application on more than one device. Yes, you’r reading that right, you can only install it on one device and on top that, you have to call the bank and tell you switched phones, so they can register your new phone. It sounds like a bad joke, but it’s the hard and inconvenient truth. You would think that they want to offer their customers a care-free, mobile, self-service experience but instead make you completely dependent on their call center (which is only open during normal business hours, of course).
  • Also, HSBC does only allow you to make international transfers between 8am and 12pm. Yes, only during 4 hours per day (or 17% of the total day), you have the time window to transfer money to another country.
  • HSBC is all about security – as they say so themselves – and therefore block your application when there is any suspicious behavior. This includes activities from another time zone. With other words: if I travel to Amsterdam and want to use the app, the system automatically blocks me because I’m logging in from another time zone.
  • BBVA does not allow you to open a private and a business account: it’s either one or the other, not both. They have a great mobile application for private use (which was the reason I joined them for my business) but their business application does not do anything else than show information: you cannot perform and banking actions in it!  So with other words: I still have to login on my laptop if I want to manage anything. Bye bye usability, bye bye user experience.

Need for change

I just don’t understand how you can pretend to be a customer-centric bank and have the ‘best in mind for your customers’, when you fail to understand – and prioritize – essential use cases in the daily life of people. I want my bank to understand me, make things easy for me and offer me the tools and services to manage my accounts. Nothing more, nothing less. Seems there is still a long way to go in making that real for most banks around me.

The consequence of all of this, is that I move my funds to other international (i.e. Dutch) banks, so that I can actually do proper online mobile banking. And I’m sure that’s not what BBVA nor HSBC want me to do.

It’s not a miracle that most people switch banks mostly for reasons of bad experience, not because of products or pricing (resp. 50% vs. 20% and 20% – source), It’s all about experience. And as you might know, FinTechs are on the rise and are not stopping. They are the patch on festering, deep user experience wounds that banks pose on us on a daily basis.

Wake up big banks, wake up and start acting!

Rant is over! Back to work!