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JPMorgan Chase leads the mobile banking race: Keynote

Chase’s iPhone app

Financial institution JPMorgan Chase is top dog when it comes to mobile banking with a strategy that includes applications, a mobile Web site and a SMS program, according to a new study from Keynote Systems.

In the 2012 Keynote Mobile Banking Scorecard, Keynote looked at how the top 15 financial institutions in the United States are tackling mobile. The study also gives insight into the discrepancies between the types of services available at banks and what consumers expect to do via mobile.

“Even among the largest banks, most have yet to fully realize the unique potential of mobile banking to help consumers today, let alone what mobile banking may be capable of a year from now,” said Chris Musto, general manager of competitive research at Keynote, San Mateo, CA.

“For example, smartphone check deposit and interactive text alerts to avoid overdrafts both move beyond desktop online banking; both are possible today and both are popular with consumers,” he said. “However, most of the largest banks have yet to offer either feature.”

“In other ways mobile banking is a work in progress even compared to what is possible today.”

Keynote helps companies test, monitor and measure their Web and mobile sites.

Best in class
The Keynote study used four areas of customer service to judge the financial institutions on – ease of use, privacy and security, quality and availability and functionality.

Chase claimed the No. 1 spot in the ease of use and functionality categories in addition to placing as the top financial institution for overall mobile user experience.

Wells Fargo, which held the No. 1 spot last year, placed No. 2 this year with its line of mobile services, which also includes SMS, apps and a mobile Web site.

Wells Fargo ranked especially well for its privacy and security, as well as the quality and availability of its products.

Bank of America, Citibank and BB&T Corp. rounded out the top five mobile financial institutions, respectively.

Other financial institutions included in the study were Capital One, Fifth Third, Citizens, ING Direct, Regions, KeyBank, PNC Bank, TD Bank, U.S. Bank and SunTrust.

Mobile bar
In addition to ranking the top banks, the study also looked at how financial institutions are lacking a multi-pronged mobile strategy.

For example, seven of the banks surveyed offer a mobile tool set that includes SMS, a mobile site and apps for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry devices.

However, when it comes to only apps, 14 of the banks surveyed had apps for iPhone devices. This shows that although banks might be missing the mark with channels that reach the most consumers, such as SMS, they are giving smartphone apps users a way to manage their money.

Mobile Web is also prevalent for financial institutions with 13 of the top banks offering mobile sites to their clients.

In order for financial institutions to get a true grasp on mobile, they need to offer a full range of mobile products to give consumers options to help manage their money.

Although smartphone penetration is growing, text messaging is still the mobile channel with the most reach, and banks need to remember to include SMS programs into their digital strategies.

“Consumers think of what their smartphone can do and banks have been rolling out what desktop banking already does,” Mr. Musto said.

“That is a good start, but consumers are aware their smartphones have location information, cameras, the ability to text someone and not just receive a text and other elements that have enabled a plethora of apps,” he said.

“It is only a handful of banks that have created mobile offerings that take advantage of the unique features of a mobile phone.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York