Big bank investments in mobile apps paying dividends: J.D. Power

TROY—The latest studies from the customer experience analytics firm J.D. Power found that a record 67% of retail bank customers in the United States used their bank’s mobile app during the past year, up seven percentage points from 2020, and a record 41% of bank customers are now classified as digital-only.

According to a series of recent studies of bank and credit card mobile app and online users, released by J.D. Power, mobile has officially become the primary battlefield in the quest for banking and credit card customer satisfaction, and the nation’s largest retail banks are setting the pace for others to follow.

The studies—J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Banking Mobile App Satisfaction Study, 2021 U.S. Online Banking Satisfaction Study, 2021 U.S. Credit Card Mobile App Satisfaction Study, and 2021 U.S. Online Credit Card Satisfaction Study—track overall customer satisfaction with banking and credit card providers’ digital offerings.

“The nation’s largest banks and credit card issuers have been continually innovating new digital solutions that support increasingly complex tasks, such as problem resolution, personalized alerts and profile management,” said Jennifer White, senior consultant for banking and payment intelligence at J.D. Power. “This is driving increased engagement and significantly higher levels of satisfaction as the world shifts to digital. That’s a challenge for regional banks that have traditionally taken a simpler design approach and are now starting to see customer satisfaction scores fall as many customers required more sophisticated digital offerings in 2020 than in previous years.”

Following are some key findings of the 2021 studies:

  • Massive consumer shift to mobile favors national banks: Two-thirds (67%) of retail bank customers used mobile banking apps in the past year, 41% of bank customers are now digital-only and 31% of bank customers have used digital to resolve a problem. This combination of high customer volume and increased level of engagement with mobile as a primary interaction tool has helped large, national banks earn an 8-point increase (on a 1,000-point scale) in overall customer satisfaction with retail banking apps. Regional banks have seen their mobile app satisfaction scores decrease 17 points this year.
  • Increased digital engagement with sophisticated tech drives success: The gap in customer satisfaction between national and regional banks is being driven in large part by increased levels of engagement with sophisticated digital offerings, including account management tools, personalized alerts, mobile check deposits and financial literacy tools. While smaller regional banks have focused on simple, easy-to-use digital tools, national banks are differentiating themselves with advanced features such as proactive guidance, real-time alerts and financial planning tools that have replaced previous in-person interactions.
  • Credit card digital strategies reflect less variation in performance: While retail banking satisfaction scores vary more widely year over year across banks, scores for overall credit card mobile app satisfaction increases just 2 points and credit card website satisfaction increases 3 points, with most brands concentrated in the middle of the pack. Credit card mobile and online strategies would benefit from an accelerated customer experience innovation push as differentiation between issuers narrows at a time when consumer interest soars.
  • Mobile apps continue to outperform websites: While national retail bank mobile apps see a significant increase in customer satisfaction this year, satisfaction with bank websites is flat. Across the board, banks and credit card issuers have invested significantly in mobile apps, attracting a faster-growing and more tech-savvy base of customers, which exposes a potential disconnect between mobile app and website digital strategies.
  • FinTech challengers lurking: FinTech challenger banks such as Chime, Acorns and Dave have all shown significant continued growth throughout this period of digital transformation, setting themselves apart with streamlined digital tools, low barriers to entry and low fees.

Study Rankings

Bank of America ranks highest in banking mobile app satisfaction among national banks, with a score of 871. Chase (870) ranks second and Capital One (864) ranks third.

Bank of America and SunTrust rank highest in a tie in online banking satisfaction among national banks, each with a score of 852. BB&T (847) and PNC (847) rank third in a tie.

American Express ranks highest in credit card mobile app satisfaction, with a score of 890. Bank of America (880) ranks second and Discover (875) ranks third.

American Express ranks highest in online credit card satisfaction, with a score of 874. Discover (871) ranks second and Bank of America (860) ranks third.

Huntington ranks highest in banking mobile app satisfaction among regional banks, with a score of 870. BBVA (868) ranks second and Santander (852) ranks third.

Regions Bank ranks highest in online banking satisfaction among regional banks, with a score of 882. Fifth Third Bank (847) ranks second and KeyBank (835) ranks third.

See the rank charts for each study at

To learn more about these studies, visit

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