Digital banking was originally conceived by banks as a way to decrease costs.
If consumers could do their banking online—instead of visiting a bank branch in person—banks could save money by hiring fewer bank tellers.
Plus, with paperless statements, they'd save on printing and mailing costs.
However, over the last five years, online banking has really taken off due primarily to the much wider consumer adoption thanks to the convenience it offers customers.
In 2016, 62% of Americans said that digital banking was their primary method of banking, up from 52% in 2015.
Digital banking is especially popular with Gen Xers (70% of which bank from their phones or online), and millennials (68% prefer digital banking).
While 76% of 13 to 35-year-olds have used payment apps like Venmo or Square Cash in the last month.
Now, banks are focusing more than ever on improving the design, user-friendliness, and functionality of their online banking resources, most notably their banking apps.
If you're in the process of choosing a bank, there are certainly a few key considerations when choosing the right online banking services, including the ease of use of its banking app.
After all, if you want to save time, you'd definitely appreciate having the ability to deposit checks, pay bills, and view your balance all from your phone—without the need to physically visit a branch!
Problem is, there are simply a ton of options out there when it comes to banking apps.
So how would you know which one's right for you?
Lucky for you, you've come to the right place!
Here at CreditLoan, we've been helping educate consumers on financial issues since 1998.
All while providing the tools, information, and solutions they need to effectively manage them.
So we did our research and here we highlight the top 12 banking apps that offer a great banking experience.
These apps score well based on criteria that users care the most about, including navigation simplicity, appearance, breadth of services, availability of key information, and clarity.
Many of the apps offer credit tools such as credit monitoring which is especially useful to those trying to recover from past bad credit decisions.
With all your banking needs taken care of from the convenience of your mobile phone, you may never have to visit a bank branch in person again!
1. Capital One
Stay on top of your credit with the app's CreditWise tool
Capital One's app was recently ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Mobile Banking Apps" by J.D. Power—and we think we know why…
Consumers love CreditWise. This feature brings in all the bells and whistles!
You can view your credit score, see any recent credit inquiries, and access your credit report instantly.
You can even play around with a simulator to calculate the potential impact of financial decisions (like closing a credit card or applying for a personal loan or mortgage) on your credit score!
Now anyone—not only Capital One customers—can download the free CreditWise app on iTunes or Google Play.
Forget passwords. TouchID and SureSwipe make it easy for you to open the Capital One app without needing a password, while also embedding an extra layer of security.
No more surprises. Receive instant purchase notifications whenever your Capital One credit card is used.
This can help you better track your spending and also prevent fraud.
Cash in your rewards. You can redeem rewards—including account credits, gift cards, and more—right in the app.
Its app is easy to navigate and loaded with perks
One of the first large banks to really go big on digital, Chase is known for its easy-to-use mobile app on both iOS and Android.
Pay your bills on the go. Chase's online bill pay feature in its app makes it easy to pay your bills anywhere you are.
Deposit checks remotely. You can deposit checks by taking pictures with your phone, saving you the time and hassle of visiting a bank branch.
Locate the nearest ATM. Since they haven't quite figured out how to dispense cash from your phone, you'll still need to visit an ATM if you need to get cash.
But … Chase's app makes it easy, helping you locate the nearest Chase branch.
Pay your roommate back easily. Eating out with friends or need to pay your roommate back quickly?
Chase QuickPay with Zelle allows you to send money electronically using your friend's email address.
Easy and simple—and no stamps, checks, or cash necessary.
Sign up for text alerts. Chase can send you a helpful reminder via text whenever your checking account dips below an amount you deem concerning.
You can also get alerts when a large deposit is received (payday!), or if your balance cannot cover checks or payments.
3. Bank of America
Easily lock/unlock your BoA credit card using the app
More than 20 million customers use Bank of America's popular app, largely because of its streamlined navigation and other handy features.
Benefit from a "digital ambassador." Bank of America's 3,000 "digital ambassadors" in their bank branches across the country help people download the app and they show them how to navigate it to get the most out of its use.
Order a replacement card on-the-go. Need a new credit or debit card to replace your lost, stolen, or damaged card?
Order one by clicking on the "help and support" menu in the mobile app.
Be alerted. You can set up email, text, or mobile app alerts when a new deposit has cleared your account, deals are expiring, or there is unusual account activity.
Lock or unlock your card. Traveling soon?You can easily lock or unlock your card straight from your mobile app.
Fingerprint sign-in. If you can't keep all your passwords straight (I mean, really, who can?!), you can easily sign into your Bank of America mobile app by using your fingerprint.
4. TD Bank
Bank from your couch with the TD Bank app
The bank, which bills itself as "America's Most Convenient Bank," offers a mobile app that lets you bank from your couch, the office, and anywhere in between.
Deposit checks from the comfort of your couch. TD Bank Mobile Deposit allows you to deposit a check using your smartphone.
You'll take a picture of the front and back of the check and submit your deposit—so easy!
Log in with Touch ID. If you have an iPhone, you can log in to your TD Bank mobile app with just the touch of a finger.
(This feature is currently not available on Android.)
View statements on-the-go. Access your account statements 24/7 right in the app.
The app helps you budget smarter and keep track of your card
Citi mobile app downloads doubled in 2016, reaching an impressive 3.25 million people total.
There's a few a good reasons for this.
View your balances without logging in. Citi Mobile Snapshot provides instant access to your bank and credit card account summary without signing into the app.
Enable notifications. Sign up for notifications about bank transactions and credit card purchases made in-store or online.
Lost your card? No need to fret. Citi Quick Lock lets you "lock" a lost or misplaced credit or debit card easily using the Citi mobile app.
Get access to customer service, stat! If you need to speak with a customer service representative, the app will connect you directly.
Monitor your spending. Citi's mobileapp provides a spending summary broken down into different categories, such as restaurants, travel, healthcare, and so on.
This is very helpful, but be forewarned that it doesn't always categorize transactions correctly, so you may need to manually adjust the categories to correct any misplaced transactions.
6. U.S. Bank
Access the app with just a glance
The U.S. Bank mobile app is like having a bank branch in your pocket, enabling you to check your balance, find ATMs and branch locations, deposit checks, pay bills and people, manage your credit card, and monitor payments.
Access with a touch—or a glance. In addition to Touch ID for iOS and fingerprint login for Android, Face ID is available for those using the iPhone X.
Pay bills fast. Did you miss the due date or are you about to?
U.S. Bank offers an Express Delivery option in its mobile bill pay, which gets the payment there the same day or overnight (a $14.95 fee applies, but that's often less than the credit card late payment fee).
Free transfers, but they aren't quick. While transfers won't cost you any money, they can take up to three business days.
Expect to pay additional fees for quicker service.
7. PNC Bank
The app keeps you from "danger" spending
Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank offers all the standard mobile banking tools, along with the Virtual Wallet app, which promises "a new mobile experience for your money management."
Here's where it lives up to the hype.
Get a glimpse of all accounts. Quick View gives you an overview of your account balances, quick access to your online statements, and a list of your most recent transactions.
Be rewarded. View and activate your personalized PNC Purchase Payback offers for your favorite retailers.
Spend wisely. Money Bar lets you see how much money you have available to spend based on scheduled payments and your preferred reserve amount.
A calendar that warns you of overspending. The PNC calendar highlights potential "Danger Days" and issues alerts to help you avoid overdrawing your account.
8. Wells Fargo
Habla españolwith the Wells Fargo app
Many consumers are wary of banking with Wells Fargo, which is still reeling from last year's scandal wherein employees created thousands of fake accounts.
The Wells Fargo mobile app, however, has pretty solid reviews.
Pay your friends back instantaneously. Send and receive money using Wells Fargo SurePay within the app—it's free.
SurePay lets you send money to anyone with a U.S. bank account with just their email address or phone number—they don't have to have a Wells Fargo account.
There is a daily limit of $2,000 and a monthly limit of $4,000.
Track your spending on the go. Wells Fargo Mobile offers My Spending Report, a tool that provides a breakdown of your expenses so you can better manage your finances.
Choose your preferred language. The app has options for both English and Spanish.
Embrace the virtual wallet. Keep your credit card or debit card information more secure by using the Wells Fargo Wallet, which works in combination with Apple Pay and Android Pay.
9. Citizens Bank
View your account balance without logging in
Citizens Bank offers a mobile app that can help you "bank at the speed of life."
The app scored high for customer satisfaction according to Javelin Strategy & Research's "2016 Mobile Banking Leader" report.
See your balance, fast. When you turn on Fast Balance, you can quickly view your account balances without having to go through the entire login process of entering your user ID and password.
To turn on Fast Balance, simply log in, go to settings, select "Fast Balance," and activate the feature by turning it on and selecting the accounts you would like to view.
See all your payments in one place. The Citizens Bank app lets you view eBill, AutoPay, Reminders, and Activity all in one place, preventing you from missing a payment.
See further back in time. Unlike other mobile apps that only let you view transactions from the last six months on your phone, Citizens Bank's mobile app lets you review up to 18 months of account history.
Activate 5% bonus categories with the Discover app
Discover only has one physical branch, but customers rate the online bank's mobile app (both Android and iOS) very highly.
It earned the highest overall score in MagnifyMoney's 2017 study of the best mobile banking apps.
Check your credit score. Log into the app and view your updated credit score for free, anytime.
Misplaced your credit card? No worries. With the Discover mobile app, you can easily freeze or unfreeze your credit or debit cards—no need to call customer service.
You can also alert Discover of upcoming travel via the app so it knows when to expect foreign transactions to appear and for a more personalized experience.
Activate Discover card bonus categories. You can view your rewards balance and activate Discover's 5% cash back bonus categories in the app.
One downside: The app doesn't show you how much of the maximum $1,500 in category purchases per quarter you've already accumulated.
11. Ally Bank
The app functions as your virtual bank assistant
Gain access to all of your Ally accounts, including CDs, checking and savings, and money market accounts, using the Ally Mobile Banking app.
iPhone users get an extra "assist." Ally Assist is a virtual bank assistant that helps you transfer money, make deposits, pay bills, and even see saving and spending patterns.
Unfortunately for Android phone users, this feature is currently only available on the iPhone.
Pay your friends back for free. The app's Popmoney service lets you send money right away to anyone in the United States, as long as you have their phone number or email address.
Pay your bills on the go. Schedule bill payments straight from your phone.
Just be aware that some consumers report about having to enter new merchant accounts and payees from a desktop instead of the convenience of their phones.
This app lets you know when it's "safe to spend"
Simple, a mobile-focused bank, offers fee-free checking accounts.
Its app is available for both Android and iOS.
Set saving goals. The app allows you to set savings goals and monitor your progress.
Know whether it's "safe to spend." At a glance, you can determine whether there's "fun money" available after taking into account upcoming bill payments, scheduled future transactions, and even your savings goals.
This sure beats the "available balance" other banks offer.
Choosing the best banking app for you
When deciding on a primary bank, you want to make sure the bank's mobile app suits your preferences and your banking needs before opening an account.
That's because these days, people spend a lot more time on the mobile app than they do in the bank branch.
These mobile apps are worth exploring for their convenience and added perks like enhancing your credit card experience with free access to credit scores, budgeting tools, and the ability to send money to anybody for free.
Most also offer advanced security features like logging in with your fingerprint and freezing your lost credit card instantly while you try to find it.
Are you looking for the best bank based on the ease of use and functionality of its app?
Tens of thousands visit CreditLoan everyday, and we are given a chance to touch and change their financial lives for the better.
That's why I really hope you found the above list of the best banking apps helpful.
Are you always on the move or just simply want to avoid the hassle of going to a physical branch to do some banking?
How has mobile banking impacted your banking experience so far?
Have you used any of the apps we've listed above and would like to share your thoughts?
Let us know in the comments below!