Westpac and Adelaide Bank have topped recent tests for website response time and site availability, while the Commonwealth and HSBC have received the wooden spoon.
The figures were compiled by Compuware using its Gomez Web Performance Benchmark, which uses agent-less monitoring, loading home pages of the 14 banks every half hour over a one-month period and averaging the results. The benchmarks will be released monthly on their website to encourage better service in online banking.
Westpac posted a blistering website response time of 0.16 second and a 100 per cent availability rating. Adelaide Bank followed in second place with a response time of 0.73 second and a perfect availability rating.
The tests measured website response time, website availability and overall consistency of results between page load times. The benchmarks only took statistics from each bank's main page. Response time was measured 48 times per day. The availability rating is the percentage of access attempts that were successful and the consistency rating is the standard deviation of response times.
Banks that fell below the average baseline for response times included Citibank at 3.42 seconds and HSBC at 5.78. However, in terms of consistency of results, Commonwealth Bank rated poorly: there was a discrepancy of 2.85 seconds between page loads. Commonwealth also fell below average in website availability at 99.74 per cent.
RaboPlus ranked last on the benchmark figures, with a staggering response time of 16.54 seconds, as compared to the average time of 3.11 seconds. RaboPlus, though, has datacentres situated offshore, which might explain the sluggish response.
In terms of response time, Australia stacks up well against international banking markets such as America and the UK. The UK ranks first with an average response time of 2.63 seconds. Australia came second with its 3.11 seconds, just outstripping the US figure of 3.19 seconds.
Seven of the 14 banks benchmarked achieved a website availability rating of 100 per cent.
Steve Jobson, vice president of Compuware for Australia, New Zealand and Japan, released the figures today. "We're seeing a huge amount of interest in how you enable people to keep a handle on performance while the demand for data starts to increase so dramatically," he said.
"One of the fundamental benefits of standardised benchmarking ... is to help people initially with the first phase of awareness of how they're doing against their peer group. The second phase is looking at the raw data and seeing how you may want to take it further in order to meet the demand for ... more content, more video, more transaction capabilities," said Jobson.
"All banks are focused on improving customer satisfaction, they are all focused on improving shareholder value and reputation has never been so topical."
Westpac and RaboBank were contacted for comment, but we received no response at the time of writing.
"Commbank.com.au is Australia's most popular and most frequented banking website and we always look at ways to improve our service offering to our customers," Commonwealth Bank spokesperson Steve Batten said in response to a request for comment.