Report: Digital Investments Paying Off for U.S. Banks as COVID-19 Forces Banking from Home

Digital investments are paying off as U.S. banks supported homebound customers, according to a series of new studies of bank and credit card mobile app and online users released by Troy’s J.D. Power.
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remote check deposit
As people stay home due to COVID-19, more are using digital banking services. // Stock photo

Digital investments are paying off as U.S. banks supported homebound customers, according to a series of new studies of bank and credit card mobile app and online users released by Troy’s J.D. Power.

The studies find that ease of use, speed, and accessibility of common features are the variables shared by the best-performing digital platforms.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, 37 percent of retail bank customers said they were using their bank’s mobile app more frequently than ever before, and 48 percent said their preferred means of depositing a check during that period was via mobile phone.

The studies – J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Banking Mobile App Satisfaction Study, 2020 U.S. Online Banking Satisfaction Study, 2020 U.S. Credit Card Mobile App Satisfaction Study, and 2020 U.S. Online Credit Card Satisfaction Study – track the overall customer satisfaction with banking and credit card providers’ digital offerings.

“Banks have been investing heavily in digital over the last several years, and those investments paid off over the last three months as the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically accelerated the shift to digital, forcing many remaining hold-outs to finally take the plunge,” says Jennifer White, senior consultant for banking and payment intelligence at J.D. Power.

“It’s never been more important for banks and credit card companies to make their digital offerings easy to access and use. Across these studies, the common trait among top performers is clear, smooth functionality that loads quickly and puts the information that customers need front and center.”

Bank and credit card customers expect a seamless experience across all channels and contact methods; if they use the mobile app, they want to be able to pick up where they left off on their desktop. The most important indicators driving overall satisfaction with banking apps and credit cards focus on ease and speed of finding information. When a customer’s most important information is displayed on the overview page, overall satisfaction scores improve 57 points on a 1,000-point scale.

National bank customers tend to have higher expectations for their apps, with a higher expectation for proactive guidance and help and a higher expectation for advanced digital capacities. Meanwhile, regional bank satisfaction scores are driven by ease of navigation due to their simpler feature sets.

Customer experience with mobile apps is generally better than their online experience due largely to greater levels of perceived visual appeal and streamlined layout on mobile apps.

Credit card apps continue to outperform banking apps in overall satisfaction. This is largely due to credit card apps being task-focused and easier to understand.

BB&T, now Truist, ranks highest in U.S. banking mobile app satisfaction among national banks with a score of 881. Capital One (875) ranks second, and PNC (856) ranks third.

Chase ranks highest in U.S. online banking satisfaction among national banks, with a score of 854. BB&T, now Truist (852) ranks second, while SunTrust (851) and TD Bank (851) rank third.

American Express ranks highest in U.S. credit card app satisfaction, with a score of 886. Bank of America (874) ranks second. Chase (873) ranks third.

Discover ranks highest in U.S. online credit card satisfaction, with a score of 872. Barclays (867) ranks second and American Express (856) ranks third.

Huntington ranks highest in U.S. banking mobile app satisfaction among regional banks, with a score of 871. Regions Bank (860) ranks second, and M&T Bank (856) ranks third.

Regions Bank ranks highest in U.S. online banking satisfaction among regional banks, with a score of 865. Huntington (861) ranks second, and Union Bank (845) ranks third.

The studies measure overall satisfaction based on navigation, speed, visual appeal, and information/content. The studies are based on responses from 17,516 retail bank and credit card customers nationwide and were fielded in March and April.

J.D. Power was established in 1968 and has offices serving North America, Asia Pacific, and Europe.

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