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Banking Apps

2015’s Best & Worst Mobile Banking Apps: 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.

Overdraft_lg_mobile vs trad

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

MobileAppRatingsGraphic2015-SummaryAllSizes

Best and Worst among the 10 biggest banks and credit unions

MobileAppRatingsGraphic2015-LargestInstitutions

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.

DigitalInsightInterface

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

chaseapp

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.

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 3.20.44 PM

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.

bankmobilescreen

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.

umpquaapp

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.

Methodology

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.

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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.

Brian Karimzad
Brian Karimzad |

Brian Karimzad is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brian at [email protected]

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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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