Ranking the Best Mobile Banking Apps: J. D. Power Speaks Up


by Robert McGarvey


Mobile banking apps are getting better and consumers like them more.  That’s the double-barreled conclusion of the recent J. D. Power study of consumer satisfaction with financial services apps.

But there remain opportunities to do apps better, said J. D. Power.

Credit unions are not scored in this survey, only the largest banks and credit card outfits are.  But there are nonetheless plenty of lessons for credit unions in the findings.

One key:

“As mobile apps rapidly become the primary interaction channel for retail bank and credit card customers, getting the formula right in terms of usability, feature sets and customer engagement has become the key to stronger advocacy and loyalty,” said Bob Neuhaus, Senior Director of Financial Services at J.D. Power, in a press statement. “While overall satisfaction is improving, one area where both banks and credit card companies continue to struggle is in making sure customers completely understand all features.”

J. D. Power came by its ranking via consumer interviews. It said that 6272 retail banking customers were surveyed. As for how it scored, the company told what it counts in ranking an app: “five factors (in order of importance): ease of navigation; appearance; clarity of information; range of services; and availability of key information.

The top ranked app is Capital One.  The lowest ranked, in 9th place, is U.S. Bank – but it came in just 39 points below the winner (888 points versus 849, on a 1000 point scale).

The study matters, said J.D. Power: “With 43% of bank customers using their mobile app in the past three months, mobile has become a critical interaction channel for the industry.”

J. D. Power also underlined that apps are improving.  The polling company said: “The overall customer satisfaction score for retail banking mobile apps is 867, up 12 points from 2017.”

Three key points get made in the J. D. Power study.

Consumer understanding of feature laden apps is important.  Said J. D. Power: “The ability to completely understand all app features has the greatest effect on overall satisfaction among banking and credit card app users. Complete customer understanding of the mobile app is associated with a 116-point improvement in overall satisfaction for banking apps.”

Be honest. If you have, say, the Capital One banking app, or Chase (which placed third), do you have any clue what all the app can do? Probably not, unless you are a certified mobile geek who enjoys playing with apps. Most consumers use a very few services and they call it a day. But that may be a mistake because their bank app may in fact do exactly the task they complain they cannot do in the app.

For credit unions, the takeaway is clear: put a priority on member education about the mobile banking app.  Drill into the many features that are built in but may not always be in plain sight.

J. D. Power underlines the need for education with this stat: “fewer than 80% of customers indicate a complete understanding of all features offered by their banking and credit card apps.” Note: that’s self grading.  I’d wager that well under 50% have a “complete understanding.”  Maybe below 25%. But that’s a fixable problem.  For the credit unions that recognize there is a problem.

Consumers who use their mobile banking app the most, like it the most.  No real surprise.  That’s probably true of just about every category of app.  Consumers who use their meditation app daily almost certainly like it better than the fellow who downloaded it six weeks ago and used it once. Of course.  But J. D. Power puts metrics around this observation: “Overall customer satisfaction is higher among customers who utilize their apps 12 or more times per month, ranging from 44-55 points, when compared with those utilizing their apps three or fewer times per month. ”

The takeaway: encourage and coax members to use their mobile banking app. And watch their satisfaction soar.

The secret of a top scoring app. J. D. Power told how to climb the satisfaction charts: “The highest-performing apps in the study have a combination of high functionality and high performance, which means they have features such as multiple security login options, built-in chat functionality and account management functions, all of which are user-friendly and well-designed.”

The takeaway: don’t be shy about building new functionality into the mobile banking app.  Just about every day a fintech announces a new mobile banking enrichment. Get serious about checking them out and how they align with your members and their needs. Then badger your mobile app provider to follow suit. That’s how to win in the mobile banking app sweepstakes: continual improvement, continual feature enrichment.  Less just won’t hack it today.




1 thought on “Ranking the Best Mobile Banking Apps: J. D. Power Speaks Up”

  1. You are my new best friend! I learned early on, from my Italian family, to always carry food no matter where you are going. In my carry-on one will find cheese, bread and granola bars. Better yet, eat before you fly.

    The last trip my daughter and I took, first class from ATL to SAN, the meal was chicken on top of broccolini; ugh the smell filled the cabin. We had consumed bagels and eggs at the Sky Club so we had no thoughts of eating that stuff. The flight attendant was astonished. Why?

    Who plans the menus on planes?


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