Do Banking Apps Really Suck?

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Dave Landry jr, a marketing and finance expert who spends his free time writing and salivating over the latest tech releases.

Before the first ATM machine debuted in 1969, people who needed cash had to go to a bank branch and write themselves a check — if they could get there before the place closed at 3pm. Nearly 40 years later, the mobile revolution ushered in the era of banking on the go. App-based financial management has empowered people to take their finances wherever they go, and to monitor and control their banking from their phone or tablet, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Awesome, right? Not necessarily. Banking apps can be buggy, fickle, frustrating, unreliable and — in the worst of cases — less than secure.

Common Complaints with the Most Popular Banking Apps

A software consulting firm rated customer satisfaction for the top 53 banking apps in the country. Although great banking apps do exist, the analysis found that customers found many to be confusing or unreliable. The worst of the bunch weren’t even apps at all. When users logged onto the “app,” they were simply redirected to the bank’s mobile site.

Many people complained that their banking app crashed or seized up way too frequently — and that’s when it worked in the first place. One of the most common complaints is that crucial functionality, such as the dashboard loading correctly, was so inconsistent that the app was virtually unusable. Other complaints were the presence of bugs, loss of information during updates, bad overall design and either an unreliable deposit system or no deposit function at all.

Does Your Bank Take App Security Seriously?

Unless you’re a beautiful celebrity who texts racy pictures to your boyfriend, the thing on your phone that digital thieves most want to steal is your financial data. Big banks have all the money in the world to hire the best security experts in an effort to make sure their apps are all but impenetrable, right? Yes, but many of them are apparently keeping that money for themselves instead of using it to beef up security.

According to an assessment by a security firm, 70 percent of banks don’t use basic two-factor authentication, which automatically calls or sends you a text to foil digital thieves who didn’t also happen to physically steal your phone or tablet. Another 40 percent will accept any SSL certificate for HTTP traffic, which is a fancy way of saying they’re not very selective about who may and may not access their network.

Apps to Avoid and the Great Platform Battle

The Apple vs Android debate will likely rage for as long as both platforms exist. But when it comes to banking apps, there is a clear winner. The average Android banking app beat its counterpart on iOS by half a star in a Nasdaq analysis of user reviews in the Apple App Store and Google Play. The lowest-rated big bank apps were:

  1. Chase
  2. BB&T
  3. SunTrust
  4. PNC
  5. People’s United Trust

Mobile banking was supposed to liberate us, empower us and help keep our money safe. While some banks, credit unions and investment firms do boast awesome apps, many — including those associated with some of the biggest institutions — are buggy, unreliable and finicky when it comes to taking pictures of checks for deposit. The worst of the bunch are too casual with security. Mobile is the future, but many banking apps are lagging way behind.

Featured image via Flickr. 

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