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Study: Consumers find aesthetics important for mobile banking apps

Banks have plenty of incentive to drive greater digital engagement. A study by Bain found that each call or visit to the bank from a customer comes at a cost of $4 to the FI. The same transaction completed through a mobile app costs the bank 10 cents.

But while mobile is a highly cost-efficient channel for financial institutions, the rate of customer uptake for the channel has declined.

To find out how FIs can make mobile banking more appealing to customers, UserTesting, a customer insights platform, asked 300 consumers to evaluate mobile apps from the three largest U.S.banks — Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.

The resulting Banking Mobile Customer Experience Index compiles user evaluations based on ease of use; speed; credibility; aesthetics; and delight. Among the findings:

  • Bank of America captured the highest overall rating for its mobile app. Some customers said that using it was much faster and easier than visiting a branch.
  • Wells Fargo took last place overall. Customers expressed frustration about the "extreme difficulty" of navigating to online statements.
  • Finding and setting up fraud alerts was the most difficult task for customers, who either disliked the lack of clarity around where to find alerts, or could not get the feature to work.
  • Aesthetics was the highest-scoring factor. Common adjectives customers used to describe the apps were: clean, clear and consistent.
  • Delight was the lowest-scoring, most elusive factor. Customers gave all three apps low ratings for this factor.

"Retail banks are in a unique position to dramatically improve their mobile app CX by zeroing in on the insights their customers provide," Janelle Estes, UserTesting vice president of strategic research services, said in the release. "As our study revealed, even a minor change to an app's navigation or functionality can change a customer's entire perception of the brand — and benefit the bottom line."

UserTesting conducted a competitive benchmarking study Oct. 23–27 in which 300 mobile banking customers (100 per bank) evaluated mobile apps. Participants attempted to complete standard tasks on the apps and then responded to rating-scale questions about their experience.