JPMorgan Chase has yet again won a ranking of mobile banking apps. In this one, Keynote's semiannual mobile banking scorecard, Chase came in first for the third time in a row. Wells Fargo came in second and Bank of America third.
In late April, Forrester dubbed Chase the best in mobile banking out of 15 large multinational banks, for the second time in a row.
What does Chase do right to get the top nod so often?
In Keynote's tests, the bank was found to provide the most across-the board functionality of the 15 banks examined, according to Susan Foulds, manager of the Keynote Mobile Banking Scorecard. Keynote maintains live accounts at all the banks it evaluates; its analysts score the apps according to 120 criteria in four categories — functionality, ease of use, privacy and security, and quality and availability. Banks evaluated for the Spring 2013 Keynote Mobile Banking Scorecard include Bank of America, BB&T, Capital One, Chase, Citibank, Citizens, Fifth Third Bank, KeyBank, PNC, Regions Bank, SunTrust, TD Bank, USAA, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.
"They have a well-rounded mobile offering across all the modes," says Foulds. "Some of the banks [we assess] don't offer text banking, for example." Chase offers text-based banking, a mobile web browser and three apps, for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. "Needless to say, BlackBerry has been waning, and doesn't make much of an impact in the scorecard, but it's still there," Foulds observes.
Alerts are another area in which Chase's mobile banking offering shines, according to Keynote. Customers can receive push alerts from Chase automatically without having to set them up, and they can be prompted to make a transaction such as a funds transfer when they are low on funds. A mobile user who can't access her desktop computer can take action right away, Foulds says.
Chase is among the six largest U.S. banks offering person-to-person payments. Chase also supports robust bill payment and transfers, says Foulds, as do most of the largest banks. "A number of banks are now filling in gaps where in their first release they didn't let customers change or schedule future funds transfers," she says. "In the most recent releases, they're filling in those gaps."
Wells Fargo led in Keynote's privacy and security category. It also stood out for the way it supports person-to-person payments. "They allow customers to enter ACH transfers between accounts, including external accounts," says Foulds. The bank lets customers manage payments, set up a payee, change and cancel payments, and set up future payments.
U.S. Bank won Keynote's quality and availability category. BB&T won a nod for its text banking features and Bank of America for its Android app.
An overall theme Keynote has noticed is that banks are making improvements to their mobile banking user interfaces, letting customers perform tasks more efficiently, with one touch as opposed to having to navigate down a few layers.
In another trend in the rankings, smaller regional banks are starting to catch up. "They've added more features, so even if their rank hasn't changed that much, there's less of a gap in score," she says.