Best Mobile Banking Apps for 2021
Recent advancements in smartphone technology, connectivity, and security have transformed mobile banking into a must-have for consumers today.
As a result, there are countless mobile banking apps on the market. But not all of them are created equal.
This article breaks down the best mobile banking apps based on specific categories. Keep reading to learn which mobile banking services can help you reach your personal finance goals.
8 Best Mobile Banking Apps for 2021
Here are my top 8 mobile banking apps for 2021, with favorites for each category.
- Chase Mobile: Best national banking app
- Ally Mobile: Best online-only banking app
- Chime – Mobile Banking: Best for direct deposit
- Bank of America Mobile Banking: Best for security
- Discover Mobile: Best for customer service
- PNC Mobile Banking: Best for budgeting
- Schwab Mobile: Best for investors
- Capital One Mobile: Best for credit cards
Chase Mobile: Best national bank app
JP Morgan Chase is the largest financial institution in the U.S., with over $3.2 trillion in assets. As you might expect, Chase invests heavily in technology, as is evident with its mobile app’s overall functionality.
The Chase Mobile app is well-liked by iOS and Android users, with a 4.8-star rating in the App Store and a 4.6-star rating in the Google Play Store. And with over 5 million reviews under its belt, the Chase Mobile app is our top pick from among the “Big Four” bank apps (the other three being Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citigroup).
- Read our full Chase Bank review
Ally Mobile: Best online-only bank app
In recent years, Ally Bank has emerged as one of the most robust all-around mobile banking apps on the market.
As a lean online-only bank, Ally’s banking account delivers higher interest rates for customers — along with lower fees. So if you’re looking for high-interest checking and a great banking experience, Ally is worth exploring.
Ally also provides a stellar mobile experience to go along with high-interest rates and widespread ATM access. For this reason, Ally is one of the most popular online banks.
- Read our full Ally Bank review
Chime – Mobile Banking: Best for direct deposit
If you receive direct deposits from your employer, you should strongly consider using the Chime app. As a customer, you can receive payments two days earlier than with a traditional bank.
Chime also has a handy budgeting feature that lets you automatically set aside a portion of each paycheck into a Chime savings account.
The company is also an online-only bank. As such, they are able to offer higher interest rates than most traditional banks. At the time of writing, Chime’s savings account boasts an annual percentage yield (APY) of 0.50%.
- Read our full Chime Bank review
Bank of America Mobile Banking: Best for security
If you’re looking for a highly secure app, Bank of America offers one of the most trusted mobile apps on the market.
The Bank of America mobile app lets you set travel notices, so you don’t lose access to your accounts when traveling. The app also offers continuous credit monitoring and instant notifications when suspicious activity is detected.
In addition to strong mobile security, the Bank of America mobile app comes with Erica, which is an automated assistant for quick and reliable support — like checking account balances and account information and seeing whether recent bill payments went through. It also has a handy mobile deposit feature, so you don’t have to go to a physical bank for a check deposit. Instead, you can do it all on your smartphone.
Whether you want to check your account balances, send money through Zelle, or transfer money between your accounts, Bank of America Mobile Banking does it all. Plus, like all national banks, your funds are FDIC-insured.
- Check out Bank of America’s promotions
Discover Mobile: Best for customer service
Discover is best known for credit cards, but its banking products, including its cash back checking account, are quickly attracting attention.
The company also shines in the customer support department, which is a must-have when shopping for banks (and mobile apps).
Discover Bank offers 24/7 live customer support, seven days a week. As such, you should always be able to contact a team member when assistance is needed.
Discover also offers live support online. You can chat with a U.S.-based representative and engage in a live chat whenever you have a question, which is super convenient since chat is usually much faster than making a phone call.
Another cool feature of the Discover Mobile app is that you can conveniently access your FICO credit score, for free, anywhere you go. All you have to do is enter your TouchID or 4-digit passcode, and your score is displayed instantly.
PNC Mobile Banking: Best for budgeting
PNC customers that use the bank’s Virtual Wallet service have access to some excellent budgeting tools within the PNC Mobile Banking app.
With the Your Scheduled Out feature, you can enter the number of bills and expenses you owe each month. Then, the app automatically subtracts what you owe from your available checking account balance, showing you how much money you have to spend.
You can also set savings goals and schedule automatic transfers to your savings account right within the app. These tools can be beneficial if you need a little bit of assistance sticking to a budget.
Schwab Mobile: Best for investors
Schwab is best known for brokerage accounts and investment products, but the firm also has a bank called Schwab Bank.
Using the Schwab mobile app, you can easily deposit money and transfer funds from your high-yield checking to your brokerage account. In doing so, you save the extra step of logging in to an external bank to move money around.
The bank account also functions as a typical checking account and comes with the Schwab Bank Visa Platinum Debit Card, which you can use for everyday spending.
For investors, Schwab Mobile is one of the more refined and sophisticated trading apps on the market. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced, Schwab is worth consideration for both mobile banking and investing.
- Read our full Schwab review
Capital One Mobile: Best for credit cards
Capital One is the fifth-largest credit card issuer in the U.S., so it comes as no surprise that its mobile app is one of the best out there for managing credit card accounts.
If you already have a bank account with Capital One, it’s super easy to pay your credit card bills within the app. You can also use the app for most of your other banking needs, including sending money with Zelle, online bill pay, and mobile check deposit.
In the App Store, the Capital One mobile app boasts a 4.8-star rating (out of 5), and in the Google Play Store, it’s rated at 4.6 stars. Capital One also ranks toward the top of the J.D. Power survey, “Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Mobile Banking Apps.”
Tips for Selecting a Mobile Banking App
Here are some important things to keep in mind when selecting a mobile banking app.
As you can see, there are so many good bank apps to choose from that it might feel overwhelming. If you don’t sign up for the right accounts from the get-go, you can easily wind up with five different banking apps on your mobile device.
Whenever possible, I recommend consolidating your accounts with the best one or two providers. Not only is it easier to manage fewer bank accounts (you can save a ton of time), but the risk of your data getting compromised is also much lower.
So, if you are looking to open a new HYSA, see if the bank also offers checking accounts. If it does, you can consolidate both your checking accounts and savings accounts in one place and delete the old account and app that you don’t need.
For most people, two or three apps are plenty. For example, one can be for your everyday checking, one for savings, and the third for investing.
Customer service is critical
Not all banks provide the same level of customer support. You can have the best mobile bank app in the world, but if you can’t get help when you need it, frustration is bound to ensue.
Look for apps that provide in-app customer support. Some offer live chat support within the app, while many online banks require you to send an email or submit a ticket and wait for a reply (which can be annoying if you need help right away).
Large banks usually offer phone support, which you can through the mobile app.
On the whole, banks tend to talk a big game with customer support. But they don’t always deliver on their promises. When selecting a mobile bank app, poor customer service should be a dealbreaker.
Place a premium on user experience
You’re going to spend a lot of time using your bank app. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to engage with their bank apps several times each day. Furthermore, it’s through this mobile app that you will be transferring money and paying for most of your bills.
In other words, it’s essential that your bank app reliably functions well.
That being the case, if you are considering signing up for a new bank and downloading its app, narrow your focus on the top-rated options. High ratings are usually an indication that the apps have an excellent user experience.
Unless you’re a glutton for punishment, apps with poor ratings should be avoided. With so many choices out there, I would say that you should probably skip over any mobile bank app that’s rating is under 4- stars (out of 5).
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I trust mobile banking?
Overall, yes. In the past, mobile banking was less secure. But these days, leading banks are prioritizing cybersecurity. As such, you can expect to see a variety of security measures in place, with features like two-factor or multifactor authentication, full encryption, and round the clock fraud monitoring.
That said, never assume that your bank is 100% secure because no bank is. Take steps to protect your password, and add a passcode on your mobile so that no one can access your bank account if you lose it.
Finally, when vetting mobile bank apps, look for red flags that might indicate a company is not serious about security. Generally speaking, this is going to be reflected in the apps’ reviews.
What is multi-factor authentication?
Multi-factor authentication is a form of password protection that involves using multiple safeguards to protect user accounts.
For example, multifactor authentication may involve using security questions or SMS messages in conjunction with passwords. Many companies are also using biometric authentication to protect accounts from unauthorized intruders.
Multi-factor authentication adds a bit of time when logging into apps or making transactions. But it can go a long way in preventing fraud. If an account offers multi-factor authentication, you should probably use it.
What is the best mobile banking app?
To answer this question, you first have to determine which bank is right for you. Are you the type of person that wants the ability to pop into a local branch and develop a working relationship with your bankers? If so, you should probably pick a large national bank, and any of the “Big Four” bank apps can probably service your basic banking needs.
On the other hand, if you are comfortable using an online-only bank, or are really keen on investing, then you should probably look into an account that satisfies those conditions.
The Bottom Line
There has never been a better time to engage in mobile banking. You’re using your smartphone today for just about everything, so it makes sense to manage finances with it, too.
Another benefit of using your phone to manage money is that the more you do it, the more you will be on top of your finances. Gone are the days of having to visit an ATM to view your account balance and making a purchase without knowing if you have enough money in your account to avoid an overdraft.
Simply put, the more you incorporate money management into your daily life, the better you will get at it. Online banking apps can play a big part in making this happen. In no time at all, you’ll have the money mindset — and this can be a powerful thing.
There’s only one question left: What mobile banking app will you choose?
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