In its second annual Mobile Banking Scorecard, San Mateo-based internet testing and monitoring company Keynote Systems has dubbed Chase Bank the large bank with the best overall mobile user experience, best functionality, and best ease of use. Keynote reviewed the mobile banking offerings of the 15 biggest U.S. banks.

"Chase covers all the bases, it has offerings that cover text banking, mobile web, and true native apps for the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry," says Chris Musto, general manager of Keynote's competitive research group. "If you want to use them over the web or over an app, you can. If you want to do text banking, you can." Bank of America also has these bases covered, he notes.

Chase also offers smart phone check deposit (as does USAA, which was not part of this study). "Chase has a large number of ATMs and branches, you should be able to find a place to deposit your check, yet remote check deposit is one of the most popular features," Musto says. This speaks to the importance of convenience, he says. "If you think of mobile banking as simply what can you cram onto a mobile device, you're not going to fully serve customers." Smart phone check deposit technology is not that easy to provide, he notes. "It does require engineering beyond building something into an app," he says.

The popularity of smart phone check deposit among consumers is ironic, Musto muses, given that it's the youngest customers who gravitate to mobile banking and the older people who still use paper checks, which are in a state of decline.

Another strong feature of Chase's mobile banking, Musto says, is interactive text alerts, for instance to let customers know they have a low balance that's about to trigger a fee, and offer to move money to an account to prevent that. Customers can reply with a simple text message. "This helps set it apart in text banking," he says. "This is Chase thinking through what this mode is good for. It took engineering on their end."

Wells Fargo came in second overall but ranked first in the categories of privacy and security and quality and availability. "Wells Fargo is very good at explaining to you what the security considerations are around mobile before you register for it or use it," Musto says. "They make a clear guarantee against fraud or losses on mobile banking." The bank masks account numbers.

Bank of America came in third overall. The bank lets customers access check images through mobile banking (BB&T also does this), so they can view checks as they balance their checkbook, for instance. "Generally they have a very functional offering for cards, deposits, customer payments, viewing and paying third-party bills," Musto says. "They've also invested in iPhone, Android and BlackBerry apps."

Citibank and BB&T were also noted for having a good overall mobile user experience, strong functionality and ease of use. Citizens and U.S. bank were credited with offering sound privacy and security features. Capital One and ING Direct were found to provide quality and availability in their apps.

The banks assessed in the scorecard are Bank of America, BB&T, Capital One, Chase, Citibank, Citizens, Fifth Third, ING Direct, KeyBank, PNC Bank, Regions, SunTrust, TD Bank, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.

Keynote chastised the entire group of banks, however, for having some gaps in their mobile offerings. The company found that between text, mobile web and iPhone, Android and BlackBerry apps, eight of fifteen of the top U.S. banks miss at least one mode of mobile banking delivery. Fourteen of the banks offer banking on iPhone apps, but only 13 offer mobile Web banking. Only seven banks offer mobile banking through each of SMS, mobile Web and apps for all of the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry operating systems.