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Which Bank Has The Best Mobile Banking App?

4 min read

OBSERVATIONS FROM THE FINTECH SNARK TANK

In a recent study of US consumers, Cornerstone Advisors found that Americans now consider the quality of digital banking tools to be a more important factor in their decision of who to bank with than branch locations, the quality of the branch experience, or even what interest rate a bank pays on deposits and savings.

So who’s got the best mobile banking app?

It’s not an easy question to answer, but an analysis by Minna Technologies, a Sweden-based fintech which provides banks with subscription management capabilities, sheds some light on the question.

Minna evaluated the mobile banking apps of 24 large banks and fintechs, identifying 30 mobile banking features (not including basic features like checking account balances, transferring funds between accounts, etc.) in five categories: Payments, expense management, savings and investments, customer support, and security.

The Biggest Banks Have the “Best” Apps

If you accept the idea that the provider with the most features has the best mobile banking app, then the crown goes to JPMorgan Chase whose app has 24 features. Citi was a close second with 23 features, followed by Capital One and Bank of America with 22 of the 30 features.

What do the leaders have in their mobile banking apps that other banks and fintechs don’t? Five features tended to differentiate these banks including:

  • Disposable virtual cards. Just three providers—Citi, Capital One, and Chime—give their customers the ability to create disposable virtual cards
  • Credit card transaction disputes. Chase, Citi, and Regions Bank give their customers the ability to dispute credit card transactions directly from the mobile app.
  • Recurring bills, subscriptions, and memberships. Generally speaking, subscription management is a set of capabilities missing from practically every bank’s and fintech’s mobile banking app. Capital One, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Varo Bank, however, give customers the ability to view recurring bills, subscriptions, and memberships in the mobile banking app.
  • AI chatbot support. Just two banks—Chase and Capital One—provide an AI chatbot within their mobile banking app. That’s gotta change. As I wrote here, chatbots will become ubiquitous in banks because of the need for speed, data, and personalization.
  • Fully digital account opening. It’s hard to believe that it’s 2022 and only nine of the 24 mobile banking apps reviewed have fully digital account opening. It’s also surprising that neither Chase nor Bank of America were among the nine banks/fintechs providing this.

Six Lessons From This Mobile Banking App Assessment

The leaders will brag about their ranking and others will dispute the methodology, but regardless of who’s ranked where there are important takeaways here for bank and credit union executives:

  1. The mobile banking app is the product. A bank could have 100 features associated with its checking account, but if they’re not in the mobile banking app, many—if not most—consumers won’t know that feature is available and will likely never use it.
  2. There are still opportunities to differentiate. The five features listed above give banks a chance to offer something not every other bank has. Granted, Minna’s inclusion of subscription management-related features in the analysis was a bit self-serving, but subscription management is a set of features missing in mobile banking apps, and one that many consumers want. According to a Cornerstone Advisors survey, 56% of Americans between the ages of 21 and 55 want subscription management services from their bank.
  3. Banks need to know who they’re building the app for. After positioning this as “the bank with the most mobile banking app features is the winner,” the reality is that different consumers have different needs and preferences—which means someone (or some segment) might only want five features in a mobile banking app. The “best” app is really the one that suits a particular customer’s needs—not necessarily the one with the most features.
  4. Design is the unquantifiable differentiator. The other problem with just counting up features is that it misses an intangible factor: Design. A bank could have all 30 features in its mobile banking app, but if the app isn’t well designed, is it really the best app? Not necessarily.
  5. App store ratings are unreliable measures. Minna’s analysis reported the Apple and Google Play app store ratings of the 24 banks and fintechs (where available). The parity of scores across the providers is alarming. App store ratings aren’t representative of the apps’ user base, however. Banks and fintechs that brag about their app store rating are wasting their breath.
  6. Standalone PFM is dead. From about 2000 to 2012, banks were obsessed with adding PFM (personal financial management) modules into their online and mobile banking apps, and the vendors that provided these tools were obsessed with proving the ROI on that PFM investment. In today’s mobile banking apps, it’s impossible to distinguish a PFM feature from a non-PFM feature. With the exception of basic transaction functionality—checking balance, transferring funds—it’s all PFM. RIP, PFM.

For a copy of the full analysis listing all features by bank/fintech, click here.