The survey results indicate consumers’ growing preference for “super apps” for their banking needs. Super apps combine multiple financial services (e.g., checking and savings accounts, investments and payments) via one app or digital experience. Typically, super apps have a higher degree of integration and customer-centricity than typical banking ecosystems, which enables them to serve as consumers’ personal financial operating system (OS).
Beyond “one-click” or “one-tap” access to a full range of services, super apps provide next-best-action recommendations and offer additional support for every action taken in any part of the ecosystem. In contrast, many banking ecosystems simply provide mobile or online access to the same services available in branches and point users to external third-party providers (e.g., travel companies) without fully integrating the experience. In other words, while every super app is an ecosystem, not every ecosystem is truly a super app.
Reflecting the competitive dynamics of today’s market, the higher number of financial relationships can be viewed as a challenge to boosting share of wallet. However, neobanks see an opportunity to become super apps by making it easier for consumers to maintain multiple relationships (e.g., through payments solutions that integrate across accounts). Neobanks that play this aggregator role can develop “core” services on top of the baseline integration. Their business models are designed so that they benefit when customers connect other financial relationships via apps. Those benefits are both direct (neobanks don’t have to originate all products) and indirect (through access to transactional data). Today, most incumbents cannot monetize those outside relationships and need to adjust their business models if they want to in the future.
Integration is the keystone
However, the research indicates that major banks are best positioned to create and benefit from super app ecosystems. In fact, within key markets, consumers expressed a strong preference for traditional banks over neobanks when it comes to developing ecosystems. That demand seems particularly strong when it comes to the critical need of protecting consumer data, where incumbent banks have a trust advantage. Some super apps may also turn to banks for access to banking licenses and to meet other regulatory requirements.
The rise of super apps reflects the reality that consumers want seamless integration of financial services within their lives and across multiple providers. It’s notable that integration is extremely or very important to majorities of consumers no matter their choice of company for PFRs. Interest is highest among consumers that maintain between three and five financial services relationships.