Tonight I attended the launch of the National Irish Bank smartphone app…a laidback affair featuring a comedy set from Colm O’Regan which was great for a Thursday evening when neurons are firing that bit slower!

I got an app demo with a difference from Liam Curran, Project Manager at Danske Bank and Jesper Nielen, Head of Business Development and Deputy CEO at National Irish Bank. You could tell that the company is really proud of this app…one NIB staff member referred to it as ‘feckin deadly’!

National Irish Bank Smartphone App

Launched in other European markets and now available for download on Android and iPhone, the app allows customers to log in with the same ID and PIN that they use for online banking. They can check their balance, pay bills, make transfers and view transactions going back as far as 13 months – far longer than possible with most other Irish banks. You can also see the latest exchange rates and convert to more than 25 currencies, removing the need for a seperate converter app such as that from

The design really ‘makes’ this app. The rotary navigation (or twiddly thing as a colleague called it) gives a user friendly feel from the outset. For any of you that battle annoyance everytime you use AIB e-banking on your smartphone, ease of use when all you want to do is check your balanceĀ  is important! Intuitive throughout, there are some nice features like being able to view a graph of your income and expenditure and see when you’re in the ‘red’.

One drawback here is that you can’t export this graph to your email account…maybe is the next version. You also can’t set ‘spend alerts’ and recive text alerts when you go over your pre-set limit as you can on the Ulster Bank app which was the first banking app launched in Ireland. That said from a user experience point of view, NIB’s app trumps Ulster Bank.

Expect some more mobile developments from NIB in the coming year. The bank have identified a demand for strong mobile banking products, particularly amongst younger customers. They previously launched an earlier version of this app in the UK which essentially only allowed users to find or contact a branch. The app received some negative reviews online as customers felt that functionality ‘wasn’t mobile banking’. However the volume of feedback and interest shown only further motivated the bank to launch a more comprehensive offering.

They have a strong focus on mobile banking with plans for a dedicated iPad application and an Irish app which will allow people to manage their stocks and shares making trading the market as easy as playing Farmville.

So the question is…if you’re not with National Irish Bank would you switch your account to them because of this app?