The state of Scandinavian banking apps

also: Moving mortgages in Sweden, Spotify – a bank machine for criminal gangs? and Sillycovalley - a startup game

The state of Scandinavian banking apps

In the last newsletter, we announced that we've analyzed 149 banking apps across Scandinavia. If you want to read our full report, all our current subscribers get it for free in the bottom of this mail 😉 , if you aren’t subscribed you can register here to download the report.

Here is the executive summary and some of the most interesting findings from the report:

  1. Naming Convention: Out of 140 apps, approximately 54 apps use "Mobilbank" or "Mobile Bank" as part of their name in both the App Store and Google Play. The lack of unique app names could lead to confusion and search difficulty for users.

  2. Impact of Bank Reputation on App Ratings: Significant events such as the discontinuation of ApplePay-support for Sbanken led to an influx of negative ratings on iOS. This suggests that users' perception of the bank and decisions can significantly impact app ratings since this is one of the few places customers can react. Curve (an Apple-Pay alternative) also saw a 5 200% spike in sign-ups from Norway after this news broke.

  3. Variety in App Features: There's a significant disparity in the availability of app features among the different banking apps in Norway. The deep-dive reveals lacking features such as family account features, joint accounts, in-app mortgage services, and more in several banks, which could impact user experience.

    Our mapping of all the features in banking apps in Norway

  4. Effects of Custom-made vs White-label Apps: Custom-made apps generally garner a higher average rating than white-label apps, indicating users may perceive them more favorably. This would suggest that while white-label apps form the majority in quantity, they might lag behind in user satisfaction.

Moving mortgages in Sweden

Say what you want about that moving mortgages in Norway is a hassle. Still, in Sweden, it is even more challenging: To transfer your mortgage, you must provide a document from your existing bank containing the amortization terms of your home loan. This currently creates a lot of friction, and SBAB is the only bank that voluntarily provides electronic documents, while other banks only provide paper copies. Some banks even use amortization schedules to delay customer transfers or negotiate discounts to retain business. The Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (FI), therefore plans to introduce a requirement for banks to provide mortgage amortization schedules electronically to increase competition and customer choice by reducing barriers to changing banks.

Spotify – a bank machine for criminal gangs?

An investigation by Svenska Dagbladet has revealed a sophisticated money-laundering scheme where Swedish criminal gangs are exploiting Spotify's streaming service. According to the investigation, the gangs convert their proceeds from illegal activities, such as drug trafficking and contract killings, into Bitcoin. This cryptocurrency is then used to artificially generate streams on Spotify for tracks released by artists affiliated with these gangs, effectively laundering the money when Spotify pays out for these streams.

Since 2019, these lawbreakers have been orchestrating a symphony of deception that resonates with Sweden's rising gang violence, with some confessing that this method is now a standard in their criminal repertoire. On their side, Spotify hasn't found "any data or hard evidence that indicates that the platform is being used at scale in the fashion described."

Sillycovalley - a startup game

Fairpixels, a design company helping startups, have created this fun game called sillycovalley. It is a fast-paced startup simulation game where you play the founder of a tech startup. You've just secured some money and are working on building a product people love and grow to as many users as possible before your funds deplete before demo day.

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