Which bank has the best mobile banking app? -Forbes | Hot Mobile Press

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 deciding who to bank with than branch locations, the quality of the branch experience, or even that Interest Rate of interest paid by a bank on deposits and savings.

So who has the best mobile banking app?

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

Minna evaluated the mobile banking apps of 24 major banks and fintechs and identified 30 mobile banking features (excluding basic functions like checking account balance, transfers between accounts, etc.) in five categories: Payments, Expense Management, Savings & Investing, Customer Support and security.

The biggest banks have the “best” apps

If you accept the notion 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 market leaders have in their mobile banking apps that other banks and fintechs don’t? Five characteristics tended to distinguish these banks, including:

  • Virtual Disposable Cards. Only three providers – Citi, Capital One and Chime – allow their customers to create single-use virtual cards
  • Credit Card Transaction Disputes. Chase, Citi and Regions Bank offer their customers the ability to dispute credit card transactions directly from the mobile app.
  • Recurring bills, subscriptions and memberships. In general, subscription management is a set of features missing from virtually every bank and fintech mobile banking app. However, Capital One, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Varo Bank all offer customers the ability to view recurring bills, subscriptions and memberships within the mobile banking app.
  • AI chatbot support. Only two banks – Chase and Capital One – offer an AI chatbot in their mobile banking app. That needs to change. As I’ve written here, chatbots will become ubiquitous in banks due to 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 tested have fully digital account opening. It’s also surprising that neither Chase nor Bank of America were among the nine banks/fintechs offering this.

Six lessons from this mobile banking app review

Executives will brag about their ranking and others will dispute the methodology, but regardless of who ranks where, here are key takeaways for bank and credit union executives:

  1. The mobile banking app is the product. A bank can link 100 features to their checking account, but unless they’re included in the mobile banking app, many – if not most – consumers don’t know the feature is available and likely never will.
  2. There are still ways to differentiate. The five features listed above give banks the opportunity to offer something that not every other bank has. Granted, Minna’s inclusion of subscription management features in the analysis was a little self-serving, but subscription management is a set of features missing from mobile banking apps that many consumers desire. According to a survey by Cornerstone Advisors, 56% of Americans between the ages of 21 and 55 would like their bank to provide subscription management services.
  3. Banks need to know who they are developing the app for. After being positioned as “the bank with the most mobile banking app features is the winner,” the reality is that different consumers have different needs and preferences — meaning someone (or a specific segment) might only have five features in a mobile banking app. The “best” app is really the one that fits a specific customer Needs – not necessarily the one with the most features.
  4. Design is the unquantifiable differentiator. The other problem with simply counting features is that an intangible factor is missing: design. A bank could have all 30 features in their mobile banking app, but if the app isn’t well designed, it is Yes, really the best application? Not necessarily.
  5. App store ratings are unreliable metrics. Minna’s analysis reported on the Apple and Google Play app store ratings of the 24 banks and fintechs (where available). The parity of the scores among the providers is alarming. However, app store ratings are not representative of the apps’ user base. Banks and fintechs bragging about their app store rating waste their breath.
  6. Standalone PFM is dead. From around 2000 to 2012, banks were obsessed with adding PFM (Personal Financial Management) modules to their online and mobile banking apps, and the vendors providing these tools were obsessed with demonstrating the ROI of 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 the basic transaction functions – checking balances, transferring money – everything is PFM. RIP, PFM.

Click here for a copy of the full analysis with all characteristics by bank/fintech.

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