The growing consumer shift to mobile banking is favoring the nation’s largest banks, with national banks earning an eight-point increase in overall customer satisfaction their retail apps compared with regionals, which have seen their mobile app satisfaction scores decrease 17 points this year, according to a study released last week by J.D. Power.
A record 41% of bank customers are classified as digital-only, and two-thirds, or 67%, of retail bank customers used mobile banking apps in the past year, the report found.
As the pandemic drove a demand for digital services, the depth and quality of an institution’s digital offerings is becoming a key customer satisfaction differentiator between national and regional retail banks, the report found.
"The nation’s largest banks and credit card issuers have been continually innovating new digital solutions that support increasingly complex tasks, such as problem resolution, personalized alerts and profile management," Jennifer White, senior consultant for banking and payment intelligence at J.D. Power, said in a statement. "This is driving increased engagement and significantly higher levels of satisfaction as the world shifts to digital. That’s a challenge for regional banks that have traditionally taken a simpler design approach and are now starting to see customer satisfaction scores fall as many customers required more sophisticated digital offerings in 2020 than in previous years."
J.D. Power’s study measured overall satisfaction with banking and credit card digital channels based on navigation, speed, visual appeal and information and content. The study, which was conducted in March and April, is based on responses from 17,011 retail bank and credit card customers nationwide.
While smaller regional banks focused on simple, easy-to-use digital tools, national banks embraced personalized alerts, mobile check deposits and financial literacy tools that have replaced in-person interactions, the report’s authors wrote.
National banks' mobile apps are outperforming their websites in customer satisfaction, the report also found.
"While national retail bank mobile apps see a significant increase in customer satisfaction this year, satisfaction with bank websites is flat," the report found.
Banks and credit card issuers invested significantly in mobile apps over the past year, attracting a faster-growing and more tech-savvy base of customers, "which exposes a potential disconnect between mobile app and website digital strategies," the report found.
Bank of America took the top spot among national banks in mobile banking app satisfaction with a score of 871 on a scale to 1,000, followed by JPMorgan Chase and Capital One with 870 and 864, respectively.
Bank of America tied with SunTrust in online banking satisfaction among national banks, each with a score of 852, while BB&T and PNC tied for third with 847.
The regional bank with the highest mobile banking app satisfaction score was Huntington with 870 points. BBVA placed second with 868, while Santander took third with 852.
For online banking satisfaction, Regions Bank came in first among regional banks with a score of 882. Fifth Third Bank and KeyBank took second and third with 847 and 835, respectively.
The J.D. Power study found that while retail banking satisfaction scores vary more widely year over year, credit card digital strategies reflect less variation in performance.
"Credit card mobile app satisfaction increases just 2 points and credit card website satisfaction increases 3 points, with most brands concentrated in the middle of the pack," the authors wrote. "Credit card mobile and online strategies would benefit from an accelerated customer experience innovation push as differentiation between issuers narrows at a time when consumer interest soars."
American Express ranked highest in credit card mobile app satisfaction, with a score of 890. Bank of America placed second with a score of 880, while Discover placed third with 875.
American Express also ranked highest in online credit card satisfaction, with a score of 874. Discover and Bank of America came in second and third with scores of 871 and 860, respectively.