At a conference I attended a few weeks ago, one of the speakers told the audience of bankers to take out their phones.
“Can you make a payment or redeem rewards with just your thumb on your mobile app? If not, you need to work on it.”
In its newest survey, J.D. Power and Associates confirmed that.
The company released a survey last week ranking the best credit card issuer apps of the year. It found that the easier an app was to use, the better. The entries were judged based on “navigation, appearance, clarity of information, range of services and availability of key information,” according to the survey.
“We found that ease of use was really most important, but that the biggest differentiation we saw was on range of services,” said Bob Neuhaus, banking practice lead for J.D. Power. “The basic user experience is pretty similar between providers, with some subtle but important differences.”
The marketing information firm, which does hundreds of customer satisfaction surveys a year, asked respondents which bank provides their primary credit card. From there, they asked 107 questions about the corresponding app and the user’s experience with it. The survey included apps that strictly provided credit card services and those in which credit cards were one feature of holistic mobile banking.
However, since J.D. Power doesn’t give out any information on which app features were noted as particularly good or bad, I did a little digging of my own.
I quizzed my colleagues, friends and family about what they liked and disliked about each app and compared that to comments from reviewers on the app store. The credit card issuers are listed in the order that J.D. Power ranked them. All screenshots were provided by a generous cardholder or the app store unless otherwise noted.
The Citi credit card app has a lot of security features for customers. Within the app, you can activate new credit cards, lock and unlock your credit card in the event it is lost or stolen and request a new card. You also can view recurring charges and file or manage a dispute from your phone.
The biggest complaint? It seems the Citi team really wants you to update the app. So much so that Citi requires it before allowing customers to log in any time a new update is available.
8. U.S. Bank
The U.S. Bank app doesn’t have many frills. It is great for customers who just use the app to look at the balance on their card and review transactions. The app is bare bones in look and feel.
The biggest complaint? A recent update created some issues with the login screen, preventing some users from using the touch ID to open the app.
The Chase app allows cardholders to view balances and activity as well as make their payments. You also can view your credit card rewards. Users say the app is fairly intuitive and easy to use.
The biggest complaint? There’s a lot of clicking through to be done when checking transactions and balances.
6. American Express
The American Express app takes a lot of cues from the desktop site but fell below the industry average, according to the survey. You can sort your charges and check your spending power to see if your purchase will be approved before you make it. Customers also can get alerts each time the card is used and can see their rewards and redemption options.
The biggest complaint? Customers are super annoyed that American Express has put ads in the account activity feed.
5. Bank of America
Photos courtesy of Bank of America
Bank of America’s app is the first on the list above the industry average, according to the J.D. Power survey. The app provides activation and cancellation of Bank of America credit cards, and exclusive offers are sent through the app.
Biggest complaint? The credit card payment system is a little wonky, especially if it is coming from a Bank of America account, users say.
4. Wells Fargo
The first feature the CreditCards.com team noticed on the Wells Fargo app is that for security reasons you can’t take screenshots of the app. Wells Fargo apparently takes security very seriously. But besides that, the Wells Fargo app lets customers make payments and order a new card, as well as view their rewards.
Biggest complaint? Points seem to disappear and then reappear at times, even if they show up on the desktop site consistently.
Photos courtesy of Barclaycard
Barclaycard offers FICO credit scores through its app, as well as credit card rewards redemption as cash back or statement credit. The app also has a purchase planner that will help you estimate what your monthly card payment will be. Cardholders also can alert Barclaycard that you’re traveling through the app.
The biggest complaint? There are too many security questions, app users say.
2. Capital One
Capital One app users can redeem their rewards for a statement credit, activate a new card and report fraud. Capital One also has folded what used to be a separate credit scoring app into the functionality, allowing users to see their score without switching.
The biggest complaint? The order of accounts moves around, even if it is set a certain way by the user, according to reviews.
USAA’s app gets the special designation here of 1.5 because according to J.D. Power, USAA’s app doesn’t meet the criteria used in the study. If it did, the app would tie for the top spot. Customers can pay their bills, see their rewards and manage their transactions within the app.
The biggest complaint? The credit score is no longer featured in the app and transfers customers to the mobile site.
Discover’s app allows customers to redeem their rewards (in a number of ways, not just as a statement credit), track their historic and current credit score and manage cards. You also can shop online through the Discover portal within the app to earn more cash back bonuses.
The biggest complaint? Honestly, it was hard to find a consistent gripe about the app. It even has a five-star rating in the Apple app store.