Study: Online Banking for SME Customers. CEE region


Having received many requests from banks, this year we are launching a new study – one devoted to online banking solutions for SME customers.

The scope of the study this year involves an analysis of 100 parameters of online banking solutions from 25 banks that work with SMEs in the CEE region (covering Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia and Czech Republic). With this set of 100 parameters, we are setting a kind of benchmark for the main functionalities that banks should have for the SME segment.

This list of 100 parameters will probably change from year to year as customer demands and expectations with respect to digital banking are changing rapidly.

The parameters are grouped into the following modules:

The full study includes:

  • A comparison of 25 banks with respect to the 100 selected parameters
  • 80 pages describing the best functions
  • 130 extra documents (print screens, manuals and videos)

What are the main conclusions and trends that we see on the market right now?

Availability of main services/scenarios for customers online

What we see in the region is that main transactional operations and access to information about customer bank accounts, such as an overview of account balances, transfers in local currency and international and domestic transfers in foreign currencies, are implemented at most analyzed banks. Applying for extra cash management services like issuing a business card, cash withdrawal at the branch or applying for a POS are offered by fewer than 30% of banks in the region.

An Integrated FX Module is becoming a very good advantage for banks that offers benefits to customers with, for example, export-import operations who work actively with foreign currency transactions. Almost half of analyzed banks have implemented this module, which in addition to RTGS settlements also includes an FX Trader module enabling spot & forward transactions, a broad selection of tradeable currencies, an FX transaction history and the ability to place currency orders with an exchange rate limit.

The trendsetters are banks that offer fully Online Customer Onboarding.

Three banks in Poland went 1 step and (mBank, PKO BP and ING Bank Śląski) implemented business registration via the bank website with automatic opening of a business account. At the moment, it is available for sole entrepreneurs, giving banks a real advantage in acquiring new business customers before they register their business, and not after – when all banks approach this customer simultaneously. Piotr Teodorczyk, Director of the Business Customer Department at mBank, says 22% of their monthly customer acquisitions were generated due to this service (mPower Business Starter).

The option to customize the main dashboard lets a customer view the main screen in accordance with their needs and preferences.

Creating an Ecosystem for SME customers is one of the biggest trends in the region.

Integration of Value-Added Services (VAS) will become a must next year. 30% of banks in the region have integrated e-invoicing and online accounting services into their online banking systems.

Integration of a BFM (Business Financial Management) module gives SME customers the possibility to analyze their account and expenses but also to forecast cash flow and manage a company’s liquidity. For the bank, this module ensures the possibility to cross sell working capital lending products and factoring precisely at the moment when a customer is in the red.

KYC and Payment Authorization is an area that will probably change a lot in digital banking in the coming year. Banks in the region are searching for solutions to verify customers and open accounts and grant loans remotely without jeopardizing the customer experience, while ensuring compliance with local regulations. This is no easy task.

While almost all banks in the region use an SMS OTP as the main method of payment authorization, mobile payment authorization has recently become a noticeable implementation.

In many banks, the user also has the option of choosing their preferred authorization method (the choice is mainly between SMS OTP and an e-token/ digital certificate).

25% of the analyzed banks have implemented pre-approved offers for their SME customers within their online banking systems. A full online lending process in the region has only been implemented in ING Bank Śląski, which allows the SME customer to pass each stage of the process completely online: applying for a loan, signing the loan agreement, and – as part of loan administration – uploading all necessary documents to fulfill contracts (insurance, etc.).

40% of banks declared that they apply an omni-channel approach for SMEs, ensuring a seamless customer experience when the customer switches between devices many times a day. This definitely provides added value to customers and empowers them with self-service banking, which will generate new revenue streams.

Short Study is available here.

Join SME Banking Club members to get access to the full version of the Study. For more details contact us at