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Banking Apps

Stash Debit Card Launches with Stock Rewards

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

You’ve heard of earning cash back on your credit card purchases. What about getting shares of stock instead? Investing startup Stash is introducing a unique take on rewards by offering its customers shares of stock for using its new debit card.

The stock-as-rewards feature is the most eye-catching part of Stash’s new mobile banking product, which was first announced a year ago and is launching now. With Stash Stock-Back™ Rewards, instead of cash you can earn shares of stock as rewards when you open a Stash Debit account and make purchases at over 11 million retail outlets.

Stash’s debit account and debit card — powered by Green Dot — comprise a pretty conventional banking option. There are no overdraft or monthly maintenance fees (though the account is far from fee-free), plus free access to over 19,000 Allpoint ATMs nationwide. You’ll also need to opt into the Stock-Back Rewards program in order to start earning shares.

How Stash Stock-Back works

With Stash’s new Stock-Back program, you earn 0.125% of each qualifying purchase you make with your Stash debit card as a stock reward. Some merchants may even offer bonuses where you can earn up to 5% of each purchase as Stock-Back rewards.

The stock rewards can be in shares of the vendor where you made the purchase, and if the vendor’s stock is listed on the Stash Platform, your reward is in the shares of that company. For example, every time you get Taco Bell and pay with your Stash debit card, you earn a small percentage of YUM! Brands stock. If a vendor’s stock isn’t available on Stash, you’ll earn your Stock-Back reward as shares in Vanguard Total World Stock ETF.

Stash invests in fractional shares

Stash’s investment platform facilitates investing small amounts of money in stock by offering users fractional shares. It’s important to understand that with Stock-Back rewards, customers aren’t really getting full shares — or at least not until they’ve done a lot of spending. Instead, they are accumulating fractional shares.

In this category of stock investing, brokerages split shares of stock into smaller parts in order to help small investors diversify their holdings or get access to shares with relatively high per-share prices.

The Stock-Back rewards you earn on qualifying debit purchases using your Stash debit card will be added to your Stash Invest account.

Stash Debit account fees

Stash boasts zero hidden fees on its Debit account, although there are fees on a few transaction types. You won’t face a fee for monthly maintenance, overdraft/insufficient funds, ACH bank transfers, direct deposits and replacement debit cards.

Most significantly, however, you will get dinged for using out-of-network ATMs. Since Stash operates entirely online, it also charges a fee for using a bank teller to withdraw cash. Stash also charges for making cash deposits, which means the account may not work well on its own. Instead, consider pairing it with another checking account that does accept free cash deposits.

Note that Stash Invest accounts do charge a $1 monthly fee on balances under $5,000. The fee structure switches to 0.25% of your assets once you reach $5,000 and higher.

Stash Debit account fees
Out-of-network ATM fee$2.50
Out-of-network ATM balance inquiry fee$0.50
Teller cash withdrawal fee$2.50
Cash deposit feeUp to $4.95, varies by retailer
Foreign transaction fee3% of total transaction amount

What is Stash?

Stash began as a way to simplify, automate and personalize investing. To start with Stash Invest, you’ll need at least $5. Then you can tailor your portfolio based on your risk tolerance and potential passion projects — that allows you to invest in causes you care about from environmentally friendly companies to the newest tech innovators. You can also take advantage of Auto-Stash recurring deposits to keep your investments growing.

Stash Investments is an SEC registered investment advisor. Stash Debit Account Services are powered by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC insured on your debit account funds.

*Fees and rates mentioned in this article are accurate as of the date of publishing.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lauren Perez
Lauren Perez |

Lauren Perez is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lauren here

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Banking Apps

The 2018 MagnifyMoney Mobile Banking App Ratings

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Since 2014, MagnifyMoney has rated the apps of the largest American banks and credit unions. Years later, banking apps are as ubiquitous as smartphones themselves. According to one 2018 survey, smartphone users only check the weather and social media more than their banking apps. And it’s not limited to users checking their balances: Two-thirds of all banking customers using a mobile banking app made at least one mobile payment last year, according to a Federal Reserve survey.

So when consumers’ money is on the line, which banking apps do they rate the highest?

Key findings

  • Overall, apps have significantly improved. Smartphone users on the Apple App Store and Google Play rate banking apps an average of 3.9 stars (out of 5.0), up from the average of 3.7 stars in MagnifyMoney’s 2017 ratings.
  • Best Overall App: For the second consecutive year, Discover had a score of 4.8.
  • Best App Among the 10 Largest Banks:BB&T, which had a combined MagnifyMoney rating of 3.0 last year, now has a rating of 4.8.
  • Worst App Among the 10 Largest Banks:SunTrust earned a 4.2 score this year. Although it’s above average overall, it’s a low score among the top 10 largest banks.
  • Best App Among the Largest Credit Unions:  Eastman Credit Union topped the rankings with a score of 4.8, well above the average of 3.9 for all credit union apps reviewed.
  • Worst App Among the Largest Credit Unions:Golden 1 Credit Union, although its rating of 3.3 remained unchanged from 2017, dropped to the bottom of the rankings this year.
  • Best Online Direct Bank App: Discover scored 4.8, which is unchanged from 2017.
  • Worst Online Direct Bank App:TIAA Bank, formerly EverBank, with a score of 2.3, had the lowest overall rating among all institutions.
  • Most Improved Traditional Bank: BB&T rose from 3.0 to 4.8, an improvement of 56% year over year.
  • Most Improved Credit Union:Suncoast Credit Union’s rating of 4.5 was a 26% increase over last year’s score of 3.5.
  • Most Improved Online Direct Bank:Ally Bank saw a 17% increase from 2017, rising from 3.4 to 3.9. The bank also made MagnifyMoney’s list for the top online savings accounts.
  • Overall Most Improved App: BB&T leaped from 3.0 to 4.8.
  • Overall Most Deteriorated App: TIAA Bank dropped 12%, from 2.6 to 2.3 year over year.
  • Most improved category: As a group, traditional banks saw the largest improvement (8% on average), and only two institutions received a rating below 4.5.

Overall best and worst banking apps

best overall bank apps

worst overall bank apps

Discover is the No. 1 app on MagnifyMoney’s rankings

Discover held its place at the top of the rankings for the second consecutive year. Users of this app not only have access to the customary features that bank app users have come to count on but also several unexpected features.

Within seconds, Discover customers can:

  • Freeze their account
  • Report a card lost or stolen
  • Live chat with a Discover representative
  • See a snapshot of their account without logging in to the app

IPad users also have access to Discover’s Spend Analyzer, a tool that sorts purchases into categories for easy tracking and analyzing, perhaps one of the reasons why this app ranked slightly higher with iOS users — 4.8 versus 4.6 with Android users.

To learn more about Discover Bank, read MagnifyMoney’s comprehensive review of its banking products.

How the largest banks rank

largest banks with the best apps

Big banks are prioritizing the mobile experience

The ratings of all the big banks improved, a sign that mobile apps are no longer a back-burner item for large banks. That seemed to be the case in previous years.

In 2017, the lowest rating among the top 10 largest banks was 3.0. This year, the lowest is 4.2 — a significant improvement. Furthermore, over half of the top 10 largest banks had scores that improved more than 10% year over year. BB&T, the most improved bank overall, increased 56%.

Traditional banks as a whole saw the most improvement when compared to credit unions and online direct banks — 8% on average, versus 5% and -1% respectively.

10 most improved and deteriorated apps

most improved bank apps

most deteriorated bank apps

How credit unions rank

Credit unions are no longer king of banking apps

Interestingly, bank apps now have as good of a user experience as credit unions. Previously, our findings have shown that the user experience of credit union apps was better than those of banks (in general, consumers like credit unions more than banks).

Perhaps this is indicative of banks finally not taking customers (as much) for granted and recognizing the need to stay competitive with their user experience. However, that doesn’t mean credit unions aren’t able to offer convenient banking options.

How online direct banks rank

online largest online direct bank apps

Online banks may soon have catching up to do

While there was some improvement in the ratings of the largest online direct banks, many of the top 12 ranked either saw minimal changes or a decrease in ranking. And the category as a whole remained flat year over year, whereas both traditional banks and credit unions saw an improvement in their overall ratings.

If rankings continue to move in the current direction — online banks remaining steady and credit unions and traditional banks improving — online institutions may need to focus on bringing new and innovative features to their user experience. Fair to say, however, that online banks continue to offer some of the top savings accounts and other banking options.

Methodology

App ratings from Google Play (Android platform) and the App Store (Apple iOS platform) were recorded in October 2018, and the overall MagnifyMoney score combines the user ratings of each. Overall ratings are a weighted average of iOS and Android ratings based on the number of reviews for each platform. Institutions with no mobile apps were excluded from ranking summaries.

The 50 largest banks, defined as those with the largest deposits per June 2018 Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data, were examined. Those without meaningful consumer checking product offerings were excluded. The 50 largest credit unions by assets, according to the Credit Union National Association in September 2018, were examined. A separate category ranks the 12 largest online direct banks, as defined by the number of app ratings.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Alaya Linton
Alaya Linton |

Alaya Linton is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Alaya here

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Banking Apps

The Best and Worst Mobile Bank Apps of 2016: 100+ Banks & Credit Unions Ranked

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

The Best and Worst Mobile Bank Apps of 2016

 

As big banks shed brick-and-mortar branches left and right, it’s never been more important for financial services to reach consumers where they are: their smartphones. In the past five years alone, adoption of mobile banking more than doubled, while the number of people banking on tablets increased more than eightfold, according to recent findings from Javelin.

That being said, mobile banking technology is still relatively new. And when it comes to creating a digital banking experience that is as simple as a quick trip to the local bank branch, some banks are certainly doing better than others.

In its third annual Mobile Banking App Study, MagnifyMoney compiled the ratings of iOS and Android banking apps from over 100 of the biggest banks and credit unions, including the 50 largest banks and 50 largest credit unions along with a selection of top online direct banks.

The data, collected from iTunes and Google Play the week of November 30, 2016, was used to create a composite 1 to 5 rating, factoring a weighted average of the ratings from both the iOS and Android platforms. We ranked each app based on its rating score. This year’s results include comparisons to our 2015 results to see which banks and credit union apps have most improved and deteriorated.

Summary of key findings:

  • Best Overall App: Eastman Credit Union with a score of 4.8, up from 4.7 in 2015.
  • Best App Among the 10 Largest Banks: Chase with a score of 4.5, up from 4.2 in 2015.
  • Worst App Among the 10 Largest Banks: BB&T with a score of 2.8, down from 3.8 in 2015.
  • Best App Among the 10 Largest Credit Unions: PenFed with a score of 4.3, down from 4.4 in 2015.
  • Worst App Among the 10 Largest Credit Unions: First Tech Federal Credit Union with a score of 1.9, down from 3.3 in 2015.
  • Best Online Direct Bank App: First Internet Bank with a score of 4.5, unchanged from 2015.
  • Worst Online Direct Bank App: EverBank, with a score of 2.7, down from 3.0 in 2015.
  • Overall Most Improved App: BECU, whose score rose 58% year over year, from 2.5 to 3.9.
  • Most Improved Traditional Bank: Citibank, with a 19% ratings increase year over year, from 3.2 to 3.8.
  • Overall Most Deteriorated App: VyStar Credit Union, whose score dropped 57%, from 4.7 to 2.0 year over year.

You can read more about the findings in the charts below:

10 Overall Best and Worst Bank Apps

(Across all banks and credit unions reviewed)

2016mobileappratingsgraphic-best

10 Best and Worst Bank Apps

(Among the 10 largest banks and credit unions)

mobileappratingsgraphic-1-v3

Credit unions dominate the ratings for the third year running

Credit unions nearly swept the top 10 rankings for all apps this year, taking 9 of the top 10 spots. That’s an even better showing than last year, when credit unions nabbed 8 out of the top 10 spots. A 2% ratings improvement was just enough to give Eastman Credit Union the edge this year, securing the no. 1 spot for 2016. It’s a familiar position. Eastman was caught in a five-way tie for first place in 2015. The bank’s most recent update in September added Apple Watch compatibility to its list of features. This year, four banks tied for second place with a score of 4.7 — ESL Credit Union, Redstone Federal Credit Union, SEFCU, and Wright-Patt Credit Union.

Still, credit unions aren’t all bulletproof. Four out of the top 10 most deteriorated apps in 2016 were from credit unions. VyStar Credit Union was the least improved of all, stinging from a 57% ratings decline year over year, from 4.7 to 2.0.

Sample customer feedback from credit union iOS app reviews:

Eastman Credit Union: “Love the convenience of the app! Mobile check deposits are great and being able to check account balances & transfer money between them on the go is amazing.”

ESL Credit Union: “I check my account quickly with the fingerprint scanner. I love the ability to look at checks that have been written and current balances. The ability to mobile deposit [sic] checks is great for me because I never get to the bank to cash them.”

Redstone Credit Union: “It just keeps getting better and better! I have other bank apps and they don’t even come close to how good this app is!”

SEFCU: “Transferring funds, depositing checks, checking balances is straightforward and the app is sleek.”

Wright-Patt Credit Union: “The WPCU app has improved immensely since I first downloaded it.”

Big Banks Coast into 2016; Citibank is the Most Improved Big Bank for 2016

The average rating for all large banks remained unchanged year over year at 3.7. Android users, however, remain happier with their big bank apps than iOS users. Average Android ratings were 3.8 vs. 2.9 for iOS.

Citibank’s average rating improved by 19% in 2016, increasing from 3.2 to 3.8 year over year. The app’s most recent iOS update boasted improvements for brokerage account holders, offering up-to-date market data and allowing them to buy and sell stocks and mutual funds directly from the app.

Bells and whistles like these matter greatly, but overall app functionality and ease of use should come are crucial to banks’ ability to win over customers. “People want speed, ease and convenience so they can get in, get the task done and get on with their lives,” says Steve Shaw, director of digital bank marketing for financial services technology firm Fiserv.

citi-2screen696x696ciit

Samples of Citi user feedback from iOS users:

“They have really made a lot of awesome improvements.” — Dec. 8, 2016

“It has come up a long way. Each update better than the last. Because of this app I rarely have to physically go to the bank.” —Dec. 7, 2016

10 Most Improved Apps (among credit unions and banks)

  1. BECU: +58%
  2. America’s First Federal Credit Union: +27%
  3. Citibank: +19%
  4. PNC Bank: +17%
  5. Nationwide: +15%
  6. Capital One: +12%
  7. Fifth Third Bank: +10%
  8. Chase: +8%
  9. American Airlines Credit Union: +7%
  10. Delta Community Credit Union: +6%

Chase #1 Among Big Banks for 2nd Year Running

Chase made a strong showing again in 2016, performing best out of the top 10 largest banks for the second year running and marking an 8% ratings improvement. With an impressive 12% ratings improvement, Capital One effectively tied for first place along with Chase, boosting its rating from 4.0 to 4.5, but with a lower Android rating at 4.5 vs. 4.6 for Chase.

It was a good year to be an Android user and Chase bank customer. In 2016, Chase added long-awaited support for Android Pay and made improvements to fingerprint sign-on for Android users.

Sample Chase feedback from iOS app users:

“Love this app & the convenience of being able to quickly check my balance, pay my bill & find answers to the majority of my questions within seconds.” — Oct. 31, 2016

“The interface is well designed [sic], intuitive and responsive. I cannot think of a single issue.” — Nov. 21, 2016.

At the bottom of the big bank rankings were BB&T and HSBC. BB&T’s rating fell 25% year over year, from 3.8 to 2.8, while HSBC saw a 6% decline, from 3.7 to 3.5.

The Top 10 Largest Bank Apps Ranked by Ratings:

  1. Chase: 4.5
  2. Capital One: 4.5
  3. SunTrust: 4.1
  4. Wells Fargo: 4.0
  5. (tie) Bank of America: 3.9
  6. (tie) TD Bank: 3.9
  7. (tie) PNC: 3.9
  8. Citibank: 3.8
  9. HSBC: 3.5
  10. BB&T: 2.8

First Internet Bank Steals the Crown from BankMobile for Top Online Direct Bank

2016 marked something of a fall from grace for last year’s #1 direct online bank, BankMobile. A stinging 19% ratings decline sent the app tumbling from first place to no. 7 this year. That opened the path for First Internet Bank to nab the top spot, despite not seeing any significant ratings improvement year over year. Its average rating remained steady at 4.5.

First Internet Bank has been around since 1999, one of the early internet-only banks to hit the scene. Launched in early 2015, BankMobile is a division of Customers Bank in Pennsylvania, but available nationally and designed to be the first fully mobile native bank.

This year, First Internet Bank was among several regional banks and credit unions to add new “eye print” sign-in technology, in which users sign in by pointing their smartphone camera at their eye. The app then compares their eye to an existing image of their eye on file.

Shaw says customers should expect more high-tech advancements to their favorite bank apps in the near future. “Some banks are leveraging the photo capability of the phone to not only enable check deposits, but to enable people to capture photos of receipts for filing or to take a picture of their driver’s license so they can verify their ID while opening an account,” he says.

First Tech Federal Credit Union Earns Worst Overall App Ratings for 2016

The lowest rated app overall belongs to First Tech Federal Credit Union, with an overall rating of 1.9 marking a 42% decline year over year. The app performed equally poorly among both Apple and Android users. Some reviews of the bank’s app in the Apple store pointed to disgruntlement with an update that was released in the fall.

“This app used to be OK but with the new update it has become so very slow,” one user commented in October. Another user complained about losing Touch ID password access. To be fair, the bank released an update most recently on Dec. 13, which promised “General performance improvements” but there have been no reviews of the latest update yet.

Last year’s worst app, Umpqua Bank, saw some improvement in 2016 but still landed among the worst apps. After facing a 40% decline in ratings in 2015, the app managed a 3% ratings improvement in 2016, enough to move up four spots.

The 10 Worst Bank App Ratings Overall

  1. First Tech Federal Credit Union: 1.9
  2. VyStar Credit Union: 2.0
  3. InvestorsBank: 2.1
  4. Patelco Credit Union: 2.2
  5. Umpqua Bank 2.3
  6. Logix: 2.3
  7. Tinker Federal Credit Union: 2.6
  8. American Airlines Credit Union: 2.7
  9. First National Bank: 2.7
  10. EverBank: 2.7

*MagnifyMoney is an affiliate partner of Chase credit cards, and does receive advertising compensation from Chase. However, compensation from advertising partners did not impact the methodology or results of the mobile banking application survey.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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