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Mobile banking Updated: 07 Nov 2018

BBVA reaches over three million mobile customers in Spain

The BBVA app, recognized by Forrester Research as the best in the world, has helped strengthen digital adoption, since it offers the largest number of functionalities for carrying out transactions.


BBVA already has more than three million customers in Spain who interact with the bank via their mobile phones, a 30% increase over December of last year. The upward trend continues the strong momentum that has been in place since December 2015, when the bank had 1.9 million mobile customers.

These figures confirm that the mobile phone is taking giant steps to becoming the customers’ “remote control” for interacting with the bank and carrying out transactions. There are customers who use the app, for example, to contact their bank manager, and those who are more accustomed to using the mobile phone (and technology) to access BBVA and to “do it yourself.” (DIY). While in May of 2016, there were 23.8 million interactions over smartphones, in May of this year the figure surpassed 56 million, a 135% increase.

These clients enjoy the advantages of the BBVA Spain app, which was recently recognized as the best in the world, based on an analysis of 53 banking institutions from the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Australia. The mobile services of BBVA Spain – which offer the highest number of transaction functionalities in the world, according to Forrester – received a valuation of 87 points, 24 points above the average and the highest since the ranking began.

According to Gonzalo Rodriguez, Head of Digital Transformation at BBVA Spain, the key to the increased use of digital channels “is due to the constant updating of our mobile channels, in order to continue offering products and services that are relevant for our customers. This development never stops and our customers’ new needs oblige us to continue working on new functionalities.”

Rodriguez pointed to the evolution of digital services among mobile customers: their interactions now contribute more value, thanks to the sale of products and services via digital channels. In general, they began by doing simple operations, such as checking an account balance or investments, or transactions (transfers, for example) and have since evolved into the contracting of products.

BBVA already has a total of 19.9 million digital customers around the world, 22% more than a year ago. Of these, 14.5 million are mobile phone users, a 42% increase over the same period last year.

The most sought-after functionalities

At BBVA, the increase in mobile banking services has constantly translated into the launch of new functionalities, “because the customers demand that,” Rodriguez explains. “Initiating a mortgage application, just like many other products and services can now be done from a smartphone, something that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. In fact, as of May, the smartphone accounts for more digital sales than the (bank’s) website.”

Among the functionalities most used are those grouped under the category “money movement.” These include national and international transfers, sending money via cell phone (Bizum), or BBVA self-service, in which a user can send (or send him/herself) money to be withdrawn at an ATM, without the need for a card. Sending money has in practice become digital, as 88% of the transactions are done this way, with 40% carried out by mobile phones and experiencing strong growth.

One of the customers’ preferred uses is contracting products from an ample portfolio that includes credit cards, insurance (medical, life, home, etc.), pre-approved credits or pension plans. While digital sales of consumer credits in July represented 45% of the total, 51% of these were done from a mobile phone. Of particular note are contributions to pension plans, (71% are made digitally, with 77% of these done via smartphone) and to investment funds, which have registered a significant increase. In the latter case, the mobile app of BBVA Spain even allows a customer to “transfer” a fund from another bank.

The ubiquity of the mobile phone is also reflected in the usage periods of the BBVA app: activity during workdays is intensified starting on Friday at noon and during the weekend, with a significant amount of activity on Saturdays.

One service available as of a few weeks ago, which is gathering strength, is the notification in case an account goes into overdraft. Customers who have an authorized limit for overdrafts will only pay if they use it. And if they have exceeded that limit, they will also receive a message with the debts BBVA can attend to promptly, as well as those that will remain pending payment.

Another service that deserves special mention is “Mobile onboarding”, which allows a person to become a customer of the bank by sending a “selfie.” This functionalty, which was singled out by Forrester in its world ranking, is responsible for 18% of the new monthly customer registrations via website and mobile phone. Also, in this type of digital registration, the contracting of funds via mobile stands at 68%, far above that of the website.