According to comScore, there were 133.7 million Americans with smartphones in February 2013, up from 104 million one year ago. As smartphones become necessities for Americans, banks have increased their focus on mobile banking, especially mobile banking applications.
It has never been easier for bank customers to manage their money on-the-go. But, not every bank is able to deliver a feature-packed mobile banking experience as others might. With time, more and more consumers will consider mobile banking features in their decisions to choose a new bank.
Today, it is reasonable to assume that every mobile banking app, regardless of the size of the bank, will offer the most basic of functionalities, including the ability to view account balances, check recent transaction history, transfer funds (between accounts at the same bank) and locate nearby branches and ATMs.
We looked at some of the more appealing mobile banking features, that go beyond just the basics, from the 10 biggest U.S. banks:
|Bank||Mobile Platforms||Bill Pay||Person to Person (P2P) Payments||Mobile Check Deposit||Mobile Deposit Limits||Other|
|Bank of America||iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Kindle Fire, Windows Phone||Yes||Yes||Yes (not on BlackBerry)||$5,000/month||BankAmeriDeals (personalized deals program)|
|Chase||iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Windows Phone||Yes||Yes||Yes||$2,000/day, $5,000/30-day period||--|
|Wells Fargo||iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Palm||Yes||Yes||Yes (not on BlackBerry)||$1,000/day, $3,000/month||--|
|Citibank||iPhone, iPad, Android||Yes||Yes||Yes (not on iPad)||$1,000/day, $3,000/month||--|
|U.S. Bank||iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry||Yes||Yes||Yes (not on BlackBerry; $0.50 fee per deposit)||$2,500/day, $5,000/5 business days||Mobile Photo Bill Pay|
|Capital One||iPhone, Android||Yes||Yes (Capital One 360 accounts only)||Yes (Capital One 360 accounts only)||$3,000/month||Purchase Eraser (rewards redemption for credit cards)|
|PNC Bank||iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry||Yes||No||Yes (not on BlackBerry, iPad)||$2,500/day, $5,000/month||Separate app offered for augmented reality (branch/ATM locator)|
|TD Bank||iPhone, Android, BlackBerry||Yes||No||No||--||--|
|BB&T||iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry||Yes||No||Yes (not on iPad, BlackBerry)||$1,000/day, $3,000/30-day period||--|
|SunTrust||iPhone, Android, BlackBerry||Yes||No||Yes (not on BlackBerry)||$1,000/day, $3,000/month||--|
– Person-to-person (P2P) payments has not experienced the same type of demand as mobile check deposit, which may be why it isn’t found in half of the biggest banks. However, the big banks are advertising this feature more and that could increase awareness of the convenience of P2P payments.
– Not all mobile banking apps offer bill pay capabilities. But, at the top 10 banks, it has become a standard.
– While the top 10 U.S. banks may have the most resources available to develop and offer innovative mobile banking technologies, some of them struggle to introduce highly-demanded mobile features. Capital One (not its online banking division) and TD Bank are two of the biggest names that still have not launched a mobile check deposit feature. (Both are currently in the development stages.) Based on many MyBankTracker reviews, customers have been known to switch banks just for this feature.
– Although many banks offer a native app for BlackBerry devices, mobile deposit is not offered through the struggling mobile platform. According to comScore, the BlackBerry platform’s market share fell from 13.4 percent to 5.4 percent from February 2012 to February 2013. (Chase recently stopped supporting its mobile banking app for the BlackBerry platform.)
– Mobile check deposit is free at 9 of the 10 largest banks. U.S. Bank is the only one to impose a fee for the feature. Some bank customers may find that the service worth a fee because it saves them a trip to the ATM. Others may not.
– Mobile deposit limits matter to customers. If they regularly receive checks that amount to more than the mobile deposit limits, that feature is rendered useless to them. (Mitek Systems, the company that developed mobile check deposit for these banks, is trying to create a network that will reduce the security risks involved with remote deposits.)