To Customers, Mobile Banking Apps All Look Alike: Study

Consumers make little distinction between their experiences in leading financial services players' mobile apps and mobile browsers, finds a survey published Thursday by Ann Arbor, Mich.-based research firm ForeSee.

Based on 4,500 customer surveys, Mobile Satisfaction Index: Financial Services Edition evaluated American Express, Wells Fargo, Chase, US Bank, Bank of America, Citibank, credit unions overall, Discover, Capital One, MasterCard, Visa, Charles Schwab, Fidelity, E-Trade, Scottrade and TD Ameritrade. The firms' satisfaction scores ranged only from 73 to 80.

"There's a commoditization of mobile financial services," Eric Feinberg, ForeSee's director of mobile, media and entertainment, tells BTN. "It's a little underwhelming."

American Express, Charles Schwab, Discover and Wells Fargo received the leading score (79) for specific brands evaluated, while the "any credit union" category pulled in the highest satisfaction score of 80.

The scores, which are on a 100-point scale, are meant to reflect satisfaction with a consumer's tablet or phone experience, whether on a brand's mobile browser site or app. Results are calculated using ForeSee's model, which lets ForeSee draw conclusions about how users feel about key performance areas (information, functionality, and performance) based on their survey responses, and also how much influence each element has on their overall satisfaction. ForeSee doesn't do any subjective analysis for the report.

Beyond ranking customer satisfaction, the research offered up color on a consumer trend that banks should stay tuned to: people are interacting with brands through mobile while not on the go. Indeed, ForeSee's data indicates that 65% of survey respondents accessed the financial services mobile site or app from their home.

"People consume content from the best available screen," Feinberg says. "Mobile is not [always] mobile. …It's true of all industries."

Those using a smartphone and/or tablet, rather than laptop or desktop, could want just as much content from the touch point, he says. "It's a new fascinating reality the industry has to build toward," he says.

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