Best Banks and Credit Unions for Mobile Banking
Mobile banking is making tracking finances or paying bills using only a smartphone easier and easier. The next time you open a bank account, how can you be sure you’re getting an online banking experience and a mobile app that will allow you to manage your checking or savings account with a minimum amount of hassle?
NerdWallet looked at the mobile experience of about two dozen of the biggest financial institutions in the country. Here’s a look at the apps we liked best, and why.
Best App for Frequent Check Cashers: Ally Bankonline banks. Ally knows its market and delivers a stellar tech experience. In the mobile realm, a few extras make the bank stand out — like the fact that you can search your recent transactions, rather than scrolling through a static list. Ally also deserves props for offering a mobile check deposit service with one of the highest daily limits around — $50,000. Nobody else on our list even came close.
Best Experience for International Travelers: HSBC Bank
Best Mobile Banking App for Budgeters: PNC Bank
Best ATM and Branch Integration: BMO Harris Bank
Best Mobile Credit Union Experience: Alliant Credit Union
Here’s a breakdown of key mobile banking features for each of the selected financial institutions:
|Institution||Best for customers who want …||Room for improvement|
|Alliant CU||A high mobile check deposit limit and a snazzy spending tracker with charts and graphs||
|Ally||A best-in-show mobile check deposit feature and searchable transaction history||
|Bank of America||The ability to make appointments at a branch via an award-winning mobile app||
|Bank5 Connect||A flexible bank with an evolving mobile app||
|BB&T||A good text banking service, in English or Spanish||
|BMO Harris||Ability to schedule appointments at a branch, get cash quickly at ATMs and see linked financial accounts from other institutions||
|Capital One 360||A well-rounded online bank with a strong all-around mobile app||
|Chase||A good central place to manage their Chase bank and credit card accounts||
|Citibank||Smartwatch compatibility, plus the option to see account balances without logging in through the Citi Mobile Snapshot tool||
|Compass||An award-winning app with sophisticated bill payment capabilities||
|Connexus CU||A credit union experience with basic mobile functionality||
|Consumers CU||A credit union with a tidy budgeting feature in its mobile app||
|Discover Bank||A good basic app that rewards loyalty by increasing the options for longtime customers||
|HSBC||The ability to manage your bank account while traveling abroad||
|Nationwide||A respectable daily check deposit limit and the ability to search transactions||
|Navy FCU||An unusually high check deposit limit and buddies who are also Navy FCU members||
|Pentagon FCU||Full integration of PenFed accounts, including mobile payments for mortgages and credit cards||
|PNC||Sophisticated budgeting and wealth-management tools||
|SunTrust||To get a quick glimpse of current balances without signing on||
|TD Bank||The ability to see credit card, bank and loan accounts all in one place||
|Union Bank||All the must-haves without anything extra||
|U.S. Bank||Photo Bill Pay, which lets you pay a paper bill electronically by snapping a picture||
|Wells Fargo||Access to Wells Fargo bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages and rewards accounts||
Comparing key features
|Institution||Person-to-person transfers||Mobile check deposit daily limits||Bill pay|
|Alliant CU||Yes, powered by Paypal||$20,000||Yes|
|Ally||Yes, via PopMoney||$50,000||Yes|
|Bank of America||Yes||$10,000||Yes|
|Bank5 Connect||Expected release date: October 2015||$2,500, but limits are raised over time||Yes|
|BB&T||No||$2,500||Yes, including reimbursement of fees if scheduled payments don’t arrive on time|
|Capital One 360||Temporarily suspended||$5,000||Yes, including reimbursement of fees if scheduled payments don’t arrive on time|
|Chase||Yes, via Chase QuickPay||$2,000||Yes|
|Citibank||Yes, via PopMoney||$1,000||Yes|
|Compass||Yes, via PopMoney||$5,000||Yes, including Picture Bill Pay where you can upload a photo of a paper bill|
|Consumers CU||Only between credit union members||$5,000||Yes|
|Discover Bank||No||$5,000; can get around deposit limits by having both a checking and a savings account||Yes|
|HSBC||Yes||$3,000||Yes, but you can’t set up a new payee with the app|
|Navy FCU||Only between credit union members||$10,000||Yes|
|PNC||Yes, via PopMoney||$2,500||Yes|
|SunTrust||Yes, via PopMoney||$5,000||Yes|
|TD Bank||Yes, via PopMoney||$2,500||Yes|
|U.S. Bank||Yes, via PopMoney||$2,500, with a $0.50 fee per deposit||Yes|
|Union Bank||Yes, via Send Money by Paypal||$5,000||Yes|
We looked at the 15 largest banks by assets and eliminated those without a significant retail banking presence. We also included financial institutions in the country’s five largest metro areas and several of the largest online-only banks that offer a full suite of checking and savings products. We rounded off the list with some of the country’s biggest credit unions with broad-based membership requirements.
Financial institutions surveyed included Alliant Credit Union, Ally, Bank of America, Bank5Connect, BB&T, BMO Harris Bank, Capital One 360, Chase, Citibank, Compass Bank, Connexus Credit Union, Consumers Credit Union, Discover Bank, HSBC, Nationwide, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, PNC, SunTrust, TD Bank, Union Bank, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.
Updated June 30, 2015.
Image via iStock.