Sunday 8 December 2019 4:35 pm

RBS under fire over fake reviews for new app

Natwest-owned Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has come under fire for writing fake reviews of its new online banking app Bó.

Eagle-eyed users noted that a string of five-star reviews, some of which were published months before Bó’s 27 November launch, praised the app for features including design and notifications system.

Read more: RBS launches digital bank Bo in bid to rival fintechs

The Sunday Telegraph reported that one of these, which was published on the day the app became available to download, was written by someone with the same name as an RBS employee.

One reviewer wrote: “Was keen to test this out but concerned by the mass of five-star reviews parroting the marketing materials…

“Not sure how people could have used it much yet aside from internal staff and testers.

“Also yet to find any unique features vs the other challengers.”

Another reviewer said: “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.”

The reviewer added: “App is clunky and yellow isn’t the nicest colour.”

According to an RBS spokesman, over 2,800 had signed up for a trial programme for the app, including bank staff.

He told the Sunday Telegraph: “We test our products, including with staff, before they are available to our customers and use feedback from the pilots to improve the services and products we offer.”

The app developer’s response was as follows: “We actually launched a few weeks ago but please 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.”

Read more: Alison Rose confirmed as new RBS boss

Apple’s app store guidelines prohibit any attempts to manipulate reviews. If manipulation occurs, Apple will “take steps to preserve the integrity of the app store.”

RBS launched Bó at the end of November in an attempt to rival a group of fast-growing fintechs and hoover up more online customers.