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Bank of America, Citibank and USAA rank as top tablet banks: Javelin

Financial institutions Bank of America, Citibank and USAA rank high in mobile for their strong tablet-specific strategies, according to a new report from Javelin Strategy & Research.

Javelin’s “2012 Tablet and Banking Report” looked at how the top 25 financial institutions in the United States are using tablets to their advantage. The report also looked at how financial institutions are separating their smartphone and tablet initiatives.

“Smartphones are designed for quick snacks of data while tablets are targeted for consumers in layback mode moving from leaning forward at their device to actually leaning backwards doing non-urgent and non-transactional activities,” said Mary Monahan, executive vice president and research director for mobile at Javelin Research and Strategy, Pleasanton, CA.

“This layback mode attracts longer, casual interactions such as Web browsing, emailing and reading or bill paying or video watching,” she said.

The Javelin survey is primarily based on online data from 5,878 consumers in December 2011. Additionally, data from an October 2011 study with 5,211 consumers was also used.

Tabbed-in bankers
Javelin singled out the three financial institutions because all three have different tablet strategies.

Bank of America was picked because the company has focused on apps for many tablets. Bank of America has tablet apps for the iPad, Kindle Fire and other Android-based devices. The tablets apps are native and have been developed specifically for each platform.

Citibank’s Kindle Fire app was singled out by Javelin because of its emphasis on laid-back features that help users manage their finances.

USAA’s iPad app have the highest rating in Apple’s App Store, pointing to how consumers have high expectations from their banks to be able to manage their finances on their devices.

Other big financial institutions surveyed included Keybank, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, among others.

According to the report, mobile banking with tablet users is growing at twice the rate of smartphone users, showing how financial institutions need to cement a strong tablet strategy if they want to keep up.

Less than 20 percent of the top 25 financial instructions surveyed have native tablet apps specifically designed for the three top tablets: the iPad, Kindle Fire and other Android-based devices, per the report.

Tablet owners use their devices to bank more, according to the study. For example, 24 percent of tablet owners surveyed said that they had used mobile banking in the past week compared to 11 percent of non-tablet mobile owners.

Pick your platform
Javelin also looked at the state of the tablet industry.

Although the iPad still claims the majority of market share with 55 percent, Android’s Kindle Fire is slowly giving it a run for its money. Before the Kindle Fire was released on the market in September 2011, the iPad made up 61 percent of the tablet ownership.

All Android-operated tablets made up 42 percent of the market share with 10 percent coming only from Kindle Fire devices. This marks an increase of 20 percentage points over the past six months, according to the report.

Research in Motion’s PlayBook slipped to claiming nine percent of the market from 14 percent in June. Additionally, Windows-operated devices made up 10 percent of all devices.

The No. 1 tablet device that consumers consider buying is the iPad with 36 percent of respondents saying that they were interested in the device.

“Tablet apps should emphasize deeper content dives, education and advice,” Ms. Monahan said.

“Visual elements, including graphical displays, personal finance management tools and video are ideally suited to the tablet,” she said.

“On another front, the behaviors measured indicate that tablet use is ramping up to be more similar to the computer than the smartphone.”

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