Study: Bank Of America Is Tops In Mobile
Bank of America may still be in the public doghouse for the federal bailout money it received, but one thing the financial services provider is doing right is its mobile Web site, according to a study.
Mobile Web banking is no longer the poor sibling of downloadable mobile apps, according to Change Sciences Group, which also evaluated the sites of BB&T, Chase, ING Direct and PNC. The 70-page report looks at the current state of the art of mobile Web banking and placed Bank of America at the top of those evaluated.
With all the focus on downloadable mobile apps, the mobile Web is often overlooked. Historically, the mobile Web has been a non-starter. Phone browsers were primitive, and data transfer speeds deplorable, according to Steve Ellis, Change Sciences Group partner.
"The mobile Web is beginning to come into its own and will one day become the mobile platform of choice for consumers," Ellis says. "There's no hassle of downloading an app. For banks, there is less hassle developing to one platform."
Increasingly, smartphones have browsers that support HTML. WebKit, the Web browser first developed by Apple and used in its iPhone and later adopted by Google for Android, has now just recently been integrated into RIM's latest smartphone, the Torch. Data transfer speeds, while still slow, are beginning to improve with 3G.
"We think these factors are beginning to change how we reach customers with mobile," Ellis says. "The importance of the mobile Web will rise as the user experience of it improves. Users will be less likely to bother downloading an app and more likely to type their bank's URL into their phone's browser. When they do, they will expect a good experience. This puts increasing pressure on banks to make their mobile Web sites as good as their wired-Web sites."
All of the evaluated sites fail to answer at least one question that users have. Three out of five sites have "major usability problems" and three out of five fail to detect the user's mobile browser and do an auto-redirect. Two of the five sites fail to support Windows Mobile in the same way they do WebKit-based browsers and two of the five fail to support bill pay through mobile banking.