Online banking app Bó was launched on November 27. Now a string of five-star reviews posted months ago has been spotted. Some expect foul play.
After Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) half-hearted attempt of buying challenger bank Monzo ended with no deal, the bank decided to launch its own online banking app.
However, the launch of Bó may have already landed the bank in hot waters. Even though Bó only hit the App Store a few days ago, eagle-eyed users have already noticed several five-star reviews that praise the app’s design and features, City A.M. reported. Some of those were posted months ago.
The Sunday Times even spotted one reviewer with the same name as an RBS employee.
One reviewer noted, “The app was only released today (on the 27th November), which means all reviews previously were done by testers – all of whom will work for NatWest and therefore give generous five-star reviews. I’m onto you NatWest.”
RBS is owned by NatWest.
The bank has denied any wrong-doing, telling the Sunday Telegraph that 2,800 people signed up to trial the software before the launch and that the public should “rest assured that our testers were as honest as they could regarding the app as any feedback, good or bad, only helps to improve the app.”
So what do reviewers think?
Well, one simply stated, “App is clunky and yellow isn’t the nicest colour.”
James Cook, special correspondent at The Telegraph, was equally unimpressed. “[Bó’s] clunky, confused branding and bare bones app feel like the first attempt of a fledgling startup rather than the cutting edge of the current financial technology boom,” he wrote.
Cook also mocked the colouring, saying, “The bumblebee-yellow colour and awkward name, which sounds like a cleverly-branded deodorant, don’t exactly scream ‘innovative banking technology.’”
Acknowledging that the app does work, he was still left confused as to why anyone would actually want to use it.
“The Bó app immediately feels limited and empty,” he said. “You can transfer money, view your transactions, and move money to a spending pot. It sends you notifications when you make payments and sorts transactions into categories. And that’s it.”
The lacklustre welcome from the public does not mean Bó is alone in having problems.
Monzo found itself feeling the pressure of investors earlier this autumn after it cancelled its premium membership, making backers question when and how they would see a return of their investment.
Challenger banking rival Starling Bank is also under fire after it was revealed that it had only lent 1% of the £913m promised to borrow to SMEs as part of a funding deal with RBS earlier this year.
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