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Updated on Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Having a mobile banking app that works reliably is more important than ever as the number of consumers using mobile apps to deposit checks has grown over five times since 2011 according to a recent Pew study. Chase reported that last year more checks were deposited via phones and ATMs than in its branches, comprising 58% of deposits, including 45 million smartphone check deposits.
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, was used to create a composite 1 to 5 rating factoring a weighted average of the ratings from both the iOS and Android platforms. This is the 2nd year MagnifyMoney has compiled the ratings, and this year’s results include comparisons to 2014 to see which banks and credit union apps have most improved and deteriorated.
The best and worst mobile banking apps include:
- Best Large Bank App: Chase (4.2)
- Best Credit Union App: Eastman Credit Union, ESL Credit Union, SEFCU, VyStar, Redstone Federal, (tie: 4.7)
- Best Regional Bank App: East West Bank (4.4)
- Best Online Direct Bank App: BankMobile (4.6)
- Worst Large Bank App: Citibank (3.2)
- Worst Credit Union App: American Airlines Federal Credit Union (2.5)
- Worst App Overall: Umpqua Bank (2.2)
- Most Improved App: Visions Federal Credit Union (4.3, +37% from 2014)
- Most Deteriorated App: Umpqua Bank (2.2, -43% from 2014)
You can read more about the findings below these graphics…
10 Best and Worst across all banks and credit unions reviewed
Best and Worst among the 10 biggest banks and credit unions
Credit unions top the ratings
8 of the 10 highest ranked apps were from credit unions. Five credit unions shared the very top average score of 4.7, including Eastman Credit Union, ESL, Redstone Credit Union, SEFCU, and VyStar Credit Union, a top ranking and rating they each shared in our 2014 study.
BankMobile and Simple were the only online direct banks in the top 10, while no traditional banks made the top 10 list.
Of the 10 highest ranked apps, 8 of them used an interface from an external app developer, Digital Insight. All 8 were credit unions who selected Digital Insight, and this is in contrast to internal development favored by larger banks and even some regional banks. The un-flashy Digital Insight interface (pictured below) was cited for simplicity and reliability by users.
Customer feedback about top rated apps includes:
- Eastman Credit Union: “Easy to use, quite effective, does everything you might need. The biometrics is a great addition.” – 11/29/15
- ESL Credit Union: “Now that Touch ID support has been added, this app is perfect. Simple and easy to navigate, it does everything that I need without gimmicky stuff getting in the way.” – 12/1/15
- SEFCU: “Does what it’s supposed to, simple interface.” – 11/27/15
- Simple: “The app is excellent. A total banking solution within the app. You never need to login via a web browser to do something which is not possible within the app.” – 12/2/15
Bank apps have room for improvement
Across all institutions surveyed the average rating was 3.8 out of 5.0, with traditional banks averaging 3.7, online direct banks best at 3.9, and credit unions at 3.8.
But credit unions are not immune. 6 of the 10 worst rated apps were from credit unions, and all but one of those had a substantial decline in ratings during 2015.
Banks appear to be managing the middle, with few apps in the very top or very bottom of rankings.
Among online direct banks we surveyed, EverBank was the lowest rated, with an average 3.0 rating, down 5% from 2014.
Chase has the best app among big banks, while Citibank lags.
Among the 10 largest banks in the country, the average rating ranged from a high of 4.2 for Chase to a low of just 3.2 for Citibank. Chase improved its rating 9% from our 2014 study, unseating Capital One as the highest rated large bank app.
In the last year the Chase Mobile app has added Touch ID iOS login and pre-login for easy previews of balances without a full login for its 20 million plus mobile users
Citibank’s app was cited for inconsistent mobile check deposit functionality and a low limit for mobile deposits of just $1,000 per day, both issues consumers cited last year as well. In comparison online direct bank Ally’s mobile deposit limit is $50,000 per day.
The average for all traditional banks surveyed was 3.7.
HSBC had the lowest rated iOS app among the 10 largest banks at 2.1, while PNC bank had the lowest rated Android app at 3.5.
Customer feedback about large bank apps includes:
Chase: “Easy to use, easier to understand, and has me contemplating changing all my banking to Chase. Shows my car loan and credit card activity all in one convenient app. Once I confirmed my app with my online profile I couldn’t believe the convenience. Well done Chase, well done.” – 10/11/15
Citibank: “Overall a good banking app, but the fact that you can’t access your statements is infuriating.” – 11/23/15
Wells Fargo: “I’ve been using this app for more than three years now with minimal problems. I deposit more than 15 checks per month using the app without any difficulty, occasionally some problems with handwritten illegible checks…Sure the UI is outdated, but I love how powerful Wells Fargo online banking is compared to PNC and all the dumbed-down, simplified and useless apps.” – 9/30/15
BankMobile leads online direct banks.
Among the online direct banks reviewed, BankMobile had the highest rating at 4.6, just ahead of Simple at 4.5, though with far fewer ratings in its pool at fewer than 200 versus 5,000+ for Simple.
For both apps, customer comments tended to be more about bank service and the lack of fees rather than the apps themselves. 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. Simple is now a division of BBVA and its app rating of 4.5 is almost identical to last year’s.
EverBank had the lowest rating among online direct banks at 3.0. EverBank’s app received complaints for a lack of Touch ID, no external transfer functionality, and issues with operating system updates.
Umpqua Bank takes the bottom.
The lowest rated app overall was from Umpqua Bank, with a 2.2 combined rating, down over 40% fro last year. Umpqua had challenges updating both its web and mobile banking systems earlier this year, including adding mobile deposit functionality and merging with Sterling Bank. More recently, users complain about an interface that doesn’t take advantage of more recent phones, and ongoing mobile deposit bugs.
Customer feedback about the Umpqua app includes:
“As other reviewers have said the mobile deposit function will probably save you drive time but is by far the least useful mobile deposit feature I have used. The app decides when to take the picture and not the user.” – 12/2/15
“This app seems like someone’s first attempt to write an iOS app. The keyboard is the one from iOS 6. Nothing has been updated for the iPhone 5 let alone the iPhone 5s, 6, or 6s.” – 10/26/15
“App is extremely buggy and slow. Often freezes and does not seem to function with basic features like transfers or check depositing. Customer service in branch and over the phone has significantly degraded. I have had a much better experience with Chase. Sayonara Umpqua!” – 12/9/15
Android users are more satisfied
Across banks, credit unions, and online direct institutions, Android users were significantly more satisfied, with an average 3.9 rating versus 3.1 for iOS users. iOS users tend to have more complaints about apps not leveraging the latest hardware and operating system capabilities.
Visions, Wings Credit Union most improved
Visions Credit Union rolled out Touch ID support, person to person transfer, and a more modern interface to good reviews from its customers this year, increasing its rating 37% from 2014.
The Wings Credit Union app for the first time added mobile deposit, playing catch up with most large banks and credit unions, and increasing its average rating 21% from 2014.
Customer feedback about the Visions and Wings apps includes:
Vision: “The new Visions FCU app is easy to use and makes banking convenient. Love the card controls feature and Touch ID. Keep up the great work, Visions!” – 11/17/15
Wings: “This app makes my life so easy since I don’t live in a state with a branch. I love that I can keep my favorite FCU and have most all of the same functions as branch, just without the actual branch. Every time you make upgrades the app gets better and better. Thanks for making it easy for those of us who no longer live near a branch.” – 11/20/15
Troubled upgrades lead to deterioration
The two most deteriorated app ratings were for Umpqua Bank and American Airlines Credit Union.
Umpqua’s 43% decline stemmed from a buggy upgrade and simultaneous conversion of both its web and mobile banking interfaces.
American Airlines Credit Union’s app rating saw a 38% decline from last year, on the back of an update this summer that led to many complaints about reliability. An update this fall seems to have addressed some of the issues, but negative feedback continues.
App ratings were recorded the week of November 30, 2015 in iTunes and the Google Play store and include ratings for all app versions. 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 are defined as those with the largest deposits per FDIC data June 2015 were examined, with those not offering consumer checking accounts excluded.
Among credit unions, the 50 largest by assets according Bauer Financial were examined. For online direct banks, 10 of the largest Online Direct Banks were chosen by number of app ratings.