Forrester Research has evaluated the mobile initiatives of the top four U.S. banks and declared JPMorgan Chase's the best. The research firm gave the bank a score of 74 out of 100 on its mobile banking functionality, for providing a wide array of mobile money movement options, including funds transfer, bill payment and remote deposit capture. The other three banks — Citi, Bank of America and Wells Fargo — all scored above average in the tests.

The analysts praised Chase's quick links to key features such as person-to-person payments, bill payments and credit card payments. Chase also won a similar review conducted by Keynote Systems last month.

The overall research report offered a few insights into mobile banking trends:

• The percentage of mobile banking users has crept up to 17% as of the end of 2011, according to Forrester estimates.

• More people use mobile browsers than native apps by a wide margin — 65% to 45% — making it important for banks to offer useful browser interfaces.

-• Table stakes — In addition to providing dedicated mobile sites, Forrester analysts a few other attributes that all mobile banking offerings should include: two-way SMS banking (all four top banks offer this), native smartphone apps (all four banks have at least three native apps), and tablet banking (while all four have tablet apps, only Bank of America and Citi had apps Forrester considers "robust").

• Future features — One mobile banking capability the analysts say banks don't do well now but will need to improve for the future is true mobile personal financial management. Another is multiple ways to obtain help, including mobile chat and instant messaging. Cross-selling is third activity banks could be doing better via mobile device, but only USAA does a good job of this today, according to Forrester.

"Banks should focus on two tasks," writes report author and analyst Peter Wannemacher. "First, prioritizing, adding, and enhancing individual mobile features; and second, moving toward a robust cross-touchpoint digital strategy, with mobile as a critical touchpoint."