Website benchmark - (Consumer Finance) Everyone needs their online finance experiences to be good ones
11 Jun 2012
Few consumer finance products are sold without the use of ubiquitous web technology these days, and for most of us logging on to the bank from home is a regular daily experience.
That goes whether you are checking your balance, opening a new bank account or applying for a new credit card – the experience is much more likely to be carried via the web than was once the case.
The level playing field the internet has introduced should make all of the above a doddle, you might expect. But latest research from Sitemorse shows that only a small percentage of the main players in the consumer finance sector have efficient websites, with less than ten per cent of the 264 we surveyed in April scoring more than 7 out of 10 in checks to quality, user experience, accessibility, performance and search engine optimisation – a result that mirrors previous benchmarks, the most recent of which was carried out in February.
An organisation's website is its main channel of communication and although the top banks surveyed clearly use this to their advantage, many of the others still have problems which possibly are being passed on to their customers.
We reveal which banks are best, worst or something in between in our survey of the websites of the main players in the consumer finance sector, available on the Sitemorse website. You can see which sites are accessible to all users, which are the slow performers (once you stood in queues at the banks, now so often you ‘click and wait’ online) and which fail all of our tests.
At the top of the list of high performing websites, with 8.38 out of a possible ten marks, is Derbyshire Building Society. The society has been highly-marked by Sitemorse in recent surveys but this is the first time it has had a top score for some time.
Second in the survey and rising an amazing 159 places in the list since the last survey three months ago are stockbrokers W H Ireland, who trace their roots back to 1872 in Manchester. Now with offices in all the UK’s main financial centres, the WH Ireland site is much improved and was marked highly on function, code quality and performance, ending up with a score of 8.18 out of 10.
After five successive quarters at the top of our consumer finance survey, Edinburgh-based Intelligent Finance has dropped down slightly to third position in the last two surveys with a score of 8.18, slightly improved since Q1 2012.. IF, part of the Bank of Scotland is a consistent performer and scores highly on accessibility as well as functionality.
Other top-ten rated banks and financial institutions this time include, Charterhouse Bank Limited, National Cash Advance, LMS Holdings, John Charcol, Leeds Building Society, Wolsey Securities and JP Morgan Asset Management.
Most improved websites this survey included those of JP Morgan, up 165 places, Homeloan Management, up 180 places, and GE Commercial Finance, up 159. Fallers included The Money Shop, down 190 places, Capital Resolve, down 148, First Trust Bank, down 147 places and the Cheshire Building Society, down 142.
Sitemorse concluded: We said last time that companies in this sector needed to up their game on the web because of competition and a host of other factors. For every website such as the Derbyshire that works well and meets the expectation of its users there are ten plagued with issues that could lead to users going elsewhere. We would urge customers to report any issues they find to their bank, especially if they are disabled or partly-disabled – we found 25 banks in this survey alone that failed basic accessibility tests on every page of their site.
About our surveys, and how they work
For more than a decade, Sitemorse has been the world's only single solution for web content governance, monitoring, recording and benchmarking.
Our unique Index publications, published several times a year, provide an up to the minute snapshot of the best and brightest business websites, with insight into which are passing – and failing - vital tests in performance, compliance, and accessibility.
Our software is used to test the sites of major organisations in a variety of sectors, (for example, FTSE All Share companies, and the UK Top 500 retail companies) to compile an index of who ‘does the web’ best.
Sitemorse is now the suite of choice for organisations wishing to ensure their sites provide total, holistic web governance and a great user experience. Our hundreds of clients across major corporates, local and national government, utilities, financials and the health sector rely on us to help them improve the performance, compliance and quality of their websites, delivering control and web confidence.
Web content management systems alone cannot hope to cover major issues such as performance, compliance, brand, accessibility and quality without help. Our products integrate (including pre-live checking - within your CMS) to ensure these vital areas are constantly under control.
We offer three levels of products, from our enterprise platform 'Governisation', a blend of governance and optimisation, to a suite of tools to help web editors and managers, as well as free in-browser tools that can be used by any web user to quickly ensure pages are error-free (our web managers toolkit). All our services are SaaS based, with no set-up or management and are designed to ensure that our hundreds of clients in major corporations, the financial sector, and central and local government have total confidence in their websites.
This survey took place on April 14, 2012 and involved benchmarking more than a quarter of a million separate URLs. Poorest code quality was recorded for the Abbey site, with more than 100,000 failures. Fastest overall response time from any site tested was the European bank.
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