Bank of America (BAC) received top honors for mobile banking in an annual survey by Javelin Strategy & Research, edging out last year's winner, JPMorgan Chase (JPM).
Bank of America was ranked No. 1 for overall user experience, scoring the most first-place finishes of the 25 banks included in the survey. The country's second-largest lender was lauded for its wide range of features, including mobile bill payments, mobile check deposits and image-recognition software.
Bank of America, which came in second for user experience last year, also received top marks in accessibility for the second straight year, thanks to services that are compatible with a range of platforms and devices, including Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry.
The company tied with last year's winner JPMorgan Chase for first place in the alerting platforms category. Both companies offer push notifications, real-time alerts and other services that keep mobile customers up to date on their accounts.
BBVA Compass scored highest in the first-time category of mobile functionality, based on features that allow mobile customers to check balances, review transactions, transfer funds and pay bills. Wells Fargo (WFC) scored highest in text banking, an honor that went to JPMorgan Chase last year.
The survey also added new categories ranking banks' smartphone and tablet applications. Royal Bank of Scotland's Citizens Financial Group and USAA tied for first place in the smartphone app category, earning an average 4.5 stars out of 5 in customer ratings posted on Google Play and the Apple App Store. USAA took top honors for its tablet app, which scored an average 4.4 out of 5 stars.
Banks are stepping up their mobile banking game across the board as a growing number of Americans embrace on-the-go bank technology, according to the survey. Nearly half (45%) of consumers said they had used mobile banking in the past 90 days, compared with 26% in 2012.
The Mobile Banking Financial Institution study ranked the mobile banking practices of the top 25 U.S. banks by deposit size based on website reviews and conversations by phone with customer service representatives. The data was collected between July and August 2013.