why its customers prefer Hello bank

Sometimes we forget: Hello bank is not a standalone bank, but a brand that distributes BNP Paribas products in the manner of an online bank. The Banking Quality Awards 2023, unveiled today by MoneyVox, demonstrate that customers have a clear preference for the distribution model offered by Hello bank.

It has existed in France for more than 20 years two ways to use up the bank. To the traditional bankwith its network of agencies and managing consultants, it was added, in the early 2000s, to the online bankwhere the banking relationship is carried out entirely remotely, by telephone, e-mail or messaging service.

A matter of choice: generally less expensive, online banking is of interest to those who are ready to manage their accounts independently, on the web and on mobile. Finally, just over a quarter of French bank users have taken the plunge, opening at least one account in a bank without branches. (1). A large part chose Boursorama Banque, which is now the main bank for 3% of French people, i.e. as much as the CIC (1).

More satisfaction in online banking

In addition to prices and methods of interaction, there is another difference between traditional banks and online banks. All polls on the topic show users of seconds view much higher levels of satisfaction and recommendation. This is the case, again, in the study (2) which MoneyVox relied on to award the 2023 Banking Quality trophies.

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One case illustrates this feature particularly well: that of BNP Paribas. Unlike other large French retail banks, the Parisian bank has not chosen to launch or buy a fully fledged online bank. In 2013 he created a brand, hello bank, to distribute its products and services as an online bank. Clear, BNP Paribas and Hello bank are the same bank with, for the most part, the same catalog of products and services. However, they do not, by far, register the same satisfaction scores.

Value for money, but not only

The contrast is even quite striking. According to our study, 96% of Hello bank’s customers have a good or very good image, compared to 89% of BNP Paribas, one of the lowest scores of the banks in the panel. The gap is even greater on the quality of servicejudged good by 95% of Hello bank users, against 86% of those of BNP Paribas, or on the value for money (95% vs 72%).

In the bank’s 2023 Quality Awards list, Hello bank therefore systematically records better ratings compared to BNP Paribas, both on the website (88.2% of satisfaction, against 77%), and on the mobile application (89% against 80.6%), or even, more surprisingly, on the quality of the advisors, for the daily needs (80.8% against 75.7%) and for projects (77.1% against 70.6%).

Access to the agency does not make a difference

How to explain these carts? The question of price, of course, is central. Sure, Hello bank is one of the most expensive online banking brands on the market: 92.54 euro annual fee on a standard basket of products and services, according to our ranking of the least expensive banks. Far, therefore, from Fortuneo or Boursorama Banque (2.78 euros). Thanks to the moderation of prices of its everyday products – bank cards in particular – it is still less expensive than BNP Paribas, which shows an annual cost of 166.54 euros on the same basket. So, undoubtedly, less leniency towards the latter.

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Some clients may also wonder if the additional 75 euros paid per year to have an agency and a consultant is justified. Like all network banks, BNP Paribas has also grown significantly in recent years prices of transactions carried out at the counters of their stores. Simply initiating a SEPA transfer costs 5 euros there, while it is free in the mobile application. Inevitably, even the most reluctant to digital tools have adopted it. Result: only 18% of them go to the branch at least once a month, against 25% less than once a year or not at all.

BNP Paribas also seems to suffer from a personalization of the report. Only 57% of customers know the name of their current advisor, the lowest percentage of all the network banks. BNP Paribas does not compensate with the quality of remote customer service, which records only 75.2% of satisfaction, far from the sector leader, Crdit Mutuel (86.4%).

However, BNP Paribas dominates Hello bank on two very important criteria for a bank: trust (87% against 83%) and attachment to the brand (79% against 71%). This is undoubtedly what is left, more generally, to networks in the face of digital banking: the reassuring image of a safewhere our money is safe.

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(1) Source: IN BANQUE study in collaboration with Sopra Banking Software, June 2022. (2) OpinionWay survey for MoneyVox conducted from 26 September to 19 October with a sample of 5,013 French bankers recruited from a representative sample of the majority of the French population . Sample interrogated online on the CAWI system.

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