Which bank provides the best mobile user experience?

Online banking has increased considerably in recent years. According to research by statisticbrain.com some 69 million Americans now bank online, and while the bulk of this activity is conducted via desktop, the use of a mobile device to perform such tasks is gaining traction.

This increase in mobile banking means that it is essential to offer a good mobile experience for current and prospective customers. General information needs to be readily accessible and easy to understand for prospects, while existing customers will expect a mobile banking experience that is clear, fast and efficient.

Despite a great deal of mobile innovation and breadth of mobile banking functionality, usability still remains a challenge for many banks. To evaluate the current state of mobile banking usability UserZoom UX researchers created a competitive benchmark study to determine which major bank offers the best mobile experience for prospective customers. In this article we’ll give an overview of the study, outline the methodology used and cover the key findings. We will also discuss mobile banking site recommendations based on the results of the research.

Study Methodology

Our researchers selected four major banks for comparison: CIBC, KeyBank, USAA and Wells Fargo. UserZoom partnered with SSI (Survey Sampling International) to recruit a panel of 200 respondents. In order to qualify for selection, participants were required to meet the following criteria:

  • Age 26+
  • Not a current customer of the banks under evaluation
  • Have previous experience of mobile banking
  • Able to participate in the study via smartphone

Following an initial screener survey, participants were taken straight to the study where they were asked several market research questions and assigned to perform three tasks on one of the sites. US respondents were selected at random to evaluate one of the three US bank sites (50 panelists per site), while 50 Canadian participants were chosen to evaluate CIBC:

Task 1: Research Account
Research the savings accounts available at [BANK] in the [ZIP / POSTAL CODE]. Find the minimum balance for the savings account that will earn you the most interest.

Task 2: Customer Service
Find a phone number you can call to ask questions about banking with [BANK]. What are the last four digits of the number?

Task 3: Find a Branch
Find a [BANK] branch in [CITY, ZIP / POSTAL CODE] to open a savings account in person. Determine what information the site provides about the branch (e.g. services available, phone number, address)

Once they had completed the tasks, participants were asked a series of questions about their overall site experience and brand perception. For example, in relation to Task 1, users were asked to rate the amount of information available on the mobile banking site on a five-point scale ranging from ‘far too much’ to ‘far too little’. Participants were also asked to state any frustrations they encountered while researching savings accounts, namely in terms of site interaction (e.g ‘links were too close together’), navigation (e.g ‘too many links required to find information’), content (e.g ‘not enough account information available’) and site performance (e.g ‘site was slow’).

Video questions were captured at the end of the study to better understand the user experience and their perception of a particular brand.

The study took an average of 15 minutes to complete.

Key Findings

Through our mobile banking benchmark study, UserZoom researchers were able to determine that CIBC earned the highest overall ratings. Participants found it easiest to research accounts (Task 1) on CIBC’s mobile site compared to the others, and encountered the fewest issues when performing tasks. CIBC achieved the highest rankings across all Key Performance Metrics comprising: ease of use, organization and layout, satisfaction and likelihood to open an account.

KeyBank tied with CIBC for the highest satisfaction ratings and Net Promoter Score. Although task success was fairly low for researching an account, ease of use ratings and frustration ratings were similar to those of the top site. Participants found KeyBank easiest to use when finding customer service information (Task 2) and also rated KeyBank highest when finding a branch (Task 3). Indeed, users on the KeyBank mobile site were able to locate a branch in just three clicks.

Wells Fargo offered the worst mobile experience for prospective customers, achieving the lowest overall ratings for ease of use, organization, layout and satisfaction. This was primarily due to difficulties in navigation and participants being forced to move to the full site in order to research an account.

In terms of brand perception, participants were asked how they perceived the brand they evaluated before and after interaction with the site. All banking sites were found to have improved in brand perception following site interaction, although Wells Fargo reflected the smallest improvement.

Conclusion – What Can We Learn From The Study?

Our mobile banking benchmark study helps to illustrate how a poorly-designed mobile website can negatively impact upon overall user experience and brand perception. Conversely, it offers an insight into the types of features which make for a successful mobile banking site.

With that in mind, here are five key recommendations:

  • Ensure content is accessible with minimal clicks and scrolling. Excessive clicks and scrolling lead to frustration and doubt in users’ ability to find information.
  • Link names should be clear in order to reduce frustrations and allow users to find content quickly and efficiently.
  • Copy should be succinct. Minimize jargon / provide explanations for industry terminology that some users may not understand.
  • Be aware of site performance and availability. Consider ongoing measurements of mobile site performance. Investigate slow site speed, errors and technical issues.
  • Finally, build trust by providing clear links to the privacy policy, online security guarantee and FAQs regarding security.

For more information about this benchmark study, watch the related in-depth webinar or download the full report.