by James A. Martin

What Are the Best & Worst Mobile Banking Apps?

Jul 25, 20132 mins
AndroidiPhoneMobile Apps

A new study examines App Store and Google Play reviews and names the top-ranked mobile banking apps, as well as the bottom feeders. Some apps get great strong reviews on one platform but weak ones on another, as blogger James A. Martin discovered.

There’s something perversely satisfying about depositing a check in bed.

While in a recumbent position, I’ve been known to whip out my iPhone, launch my bank’s app, snap a photo of the check’s back and front, type in the amount, and boom. My money wings its way into my account while I return to reading Entertainment Weekly on my iPad.

Alas, not all mobile banking apps make it that easy. And a new report from Xtreme Labs, entitled the “U.S. Banking Apps Report: Customer Reviews,” shows that some banks are doing are a better job than others with their mobile apps.

The report analyzed customer reviews on Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store between May 18 and June 25, 2013, for the top 53 U.S. banks’ apps. Among the findings:

  •  Citizen’s Bank is the only bank with the highest-rated apps on both the App Store as well as Google Play (4.5 stars on each). Other top rankers included Charter One Mobile Banking (4.0 stars, iOS); KeyBank for iPad (4.0 stars, iPad); USAA Mobile (4.6 stars, Android); and Amex Mobile (4.4 stars, Android).
  • The lowest-rated apps included People’s United Bank Mobile Banking for iPad, PNC Mobile Banking, SunTrust Mobile App, and M&T Mobile, each of which earned a 2.0 or 2.3 star rating.

What caused banks’ mobile apps to tank in user reviews? Common issues included no deposit function or a deposit limit that’s too low; bugs; and poor design.

I’ve used three banking apps, with mixed success. My most frequently used app is Wells Fargo’s iOS app. It does a reasonably good job of letting me transfer money, check balances and such. I can even transfer money now with a text message.

Wells Fargo iPhone app

Depositing checks can be hit or miss, as Wells seems to keep moving the limitation on how much you can deposit at any given time. Sometimes I go through all the motions of making a deposit, only to discover the check sum is too large. (A nice problem to have, admittedly, but a problem nonetheless.) Worth noting: The app’s current version has an average 2-star rating in the App Store, while the Android version has a 4-star rating.