The best and worst bank apps of 2016

As big banks shed brick-and-mortar branches left and right, it’s never been more important for financial services to reach consumers where they are: their smartphones. In the past five years alone, adoption of mobile banking more than doubled, while the number of people banking on tablets increased more than eightfold, according to recent findings from Javelin

That being said, mobile banking technology is still relatively new. And when it comes to creating a digital banking experience that is as simple as a quick trip to the local bank branch, some banks are certainly doing better than others.

In its third annual Mobile Banking App Study, MagnifyMoney compiled the ratings of iOS and Android banking apps from over 100 of the biggest banks and credit unions, including the 50 largest banks and 50 largest credit unions along with a selection of top online direct banks.

The data, collected from iTunes and Google Play the week of November 30, 2016, was used to create a composite 1 to 5 rating, factoring a weighted average of the ratings from both the iOS and Android platforms. We ranked each app based on its rating score. This year’s results include comparisons to 2015 to see which banks and credit union apps have most improved and deteriorated.

The Top 10 Largest Bank Apps Ranked by Ratings

1. (tie) Chase: 4.5
2. (tie) Capital One: 4.5
3. SunTrust: 4.1
4. Wells Fargo: 4.0
5. (tie) Bank of America: 3.9
5. (tie) TD Bank: 3.9
7. (tie) PNC: 3.9
8. Citibank: 3.8
9. HSBC: 3.5
10. BB&T: 2.8

The 10 Worst Bank App Ratings Overall

1. First Tech Federal Credit Union: 1.9
2. VyStar Credit Union: 2.0
3. Investors Bank: 2.1
4. Patelco Credit Union: 2.2
5. Umpqua Bank 2.3
6. Logix: 2.3
7. Tinker Federal Credit Union: 2.6
8. American Airlines Credit Union: 2.7
9. First National Bank: 2.7
10. EverBank: 2.7

Credit unions dominate the ratings for the third year running

Credit unions nearly swept the top 10 rankings for all apps this year, taking 9 of the top 10 spots. That’s an even better showing than last year, when credit unions nabbed 8 out of the top 10 spots. A 2% ratings improvement was just enough to give Eastman Credit Union the edge this year, securing the no. 1 spot for 2016. It’s a familiar position. Eastman was caught in a five-way tie for first place in 2015. The bank’s most recent update in September added Apple Watch compatibility to its list of features. This year, four banks tied for second place with a score of 4.7 — ESL Credit Union, Redstone Federal Credit Union, SEFCU, and Wright-Patt Credit Union.

Still, credit unions aren’t all bulletproof. Four out of the top 10 most deteriorated apps in 2016 were from credit unions. VyStar Credit Union was the least improved of all, stinging from a 57% ratings decline year over year, from 4.7 to 2.0.

Citibank is the most improved big bank for 2016

The average rating for all large banks remained unchanged year over year at 3.7. Android users, however, remain happier with their big bank apps than iOS users. Average Android ratings were 3.8 versus 2.9 for iOS.

Citibank’s average rating improved by 19% in 2016, increasing from 3.2 to 3.8 year over year. The app’s most recent iOS update boasted improvements for brokerage account holders, offering up-to-date market data and allowing them to buy and sell stocks and mutual funds directly from the app.

Bells and whistles like these matter greatly, but overall app functionality and ease of use are crucial to banks’ ability to win over customers. “People want speed, ease, and convenience so they can get in, get the task done, and get on with their lives,” says Steve Shaw, director of digital bank marketing for financial services technology Fiserv.

See how all the banks and credit unions ranked in the graphics below: 

10 Overall Best and Worst Apps
(Across all banks and credit unions reviewed)

Best and Worst Mobile Banking Apps


Mobile Banking App Ratings

Mobile Banking App Ratings

MagnifyMoney is a price comparison and financial education website, founded by former bankers who use their knowledge of how the system works to help you save money.


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