Education increases banking app satisfaction

More Canadians may be using digital channels to bank, but research by J.D. Power suggests there's room to improve.


As more customers migrate to digital channels for their banking needs, overall satisfaction with those services has increased, according to findings from four new studies by consumer insights firm J.D. Power.

One exception to that is mobile banking apps, but the firm’s findings suggest helping customers better understand the apps could be a path to higher satisfaction.

The four studies in question, measuring consumer satisfaction with banking apps, online banking, credit card apps and online credit cards, respectively, look at four different facets of customer experience: ease of navigation, appearance, clarity of information, range of services and availability of key information. The results are based on responses from 8,409 Canadian retail bank and credit card customers, fielded between March and April of this year.

Around 90% of retail customers indicate having had at least one digital interaction with their bank over the last three months, a number that drops to 70% among credit card users. And with 40% of people saying they now interact exclusively through digital channels, more customers appear comfortable never entering a branch, according to the research.

When it comes to banking apps, satisfaction decreased slightly from the year before. J.D. Power found the satisfaction score to be 821 (out of a potentially 1,000 points) this year – down 3 points from 2018.

However, satisfaction with the apps improves markedly as customers come to fully understand them, with scores improving by 110 points among those who say they have “complete understanding” of how their app works. By comparison, respondents to the survey reported high understanding of the features of both mobile apps for credit cards, where satisfaction went up to 822.

The report points out that financial institutions should prioritize increasing customer understanding of their apps to improve their satisfaction metrics: 77% of app users say their bank’s app is either a “somewhat important” or “very important” channel in preventing them from switching to a different bank.

J.D. Power expects personalization and content curation to be the “next frontier” in the development of digital channels. Whereas the “bulk of spending and design activity in the banking and credit card online and mobile app space has been focused on creating rich feature sets and improving usability,” according to the firm, “the focus needs to shift to personalization” as the technology evolves, “creating a curated user experience that delivers both convenience and streamlined usability.”

J.D. Power also released satisfaction rankings for each of Canada’s banks. Scotiabank ranked highest in overall satisfaction for its mobile app, with a score of 834, followed by CIBC with 832 and RBC with 826 points. Meanwhile, TD ranked highest in overall satisfaction for online banking, with a score of 821. It was followed by CIBC and Scotiabank tied for second with 813 points each.