Satisfaction is Dipping Across the Board for Canadian Banking Apps

As more and more Canadians turn to digital means to fulfill the basic aspects of their life, it turns out that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re happier as well.

That rings true when it comes to financials, as Canadian satisfaction with banking apps has dropped this year according to J.D. Power’s annual Canada Banking App Satisfaction Study. Despite drops in overall satisfaction, RBC’s mobile app once again came first in terms of satisfaction followed by TD.

In total, the overall satisfaction of mobile banking apps for Canada’s big five dropped 11 points (on a scale of 1,000 points) this year compared to last. Each bank profiled in the study dropped in score compared to last year as well.

“The large-scale push toward digital transformation by Canadian banks has had the desired effect of moving more customers onto more cost-effective digital channels but, in some cases, that transition is coming at the expense of customer satisfaction,” said Bob Neuhaus, senior director of financial services at J.D. Power.

Mobile has become a key driver of growth for banks in Canada as 43 per cent of customers say they have used their institution’s app in the past three months. But as the apps become more complex and offer more ways to interact with money, plans and accounts, it can be hard for some customers to keep up. The complete understanding of a mobile app is tied to the highest jump in satisfaction when it comes to J.D. Power’s study—yet fewer than 68 per cent of North American customers indicate they completely understand everything about their bank’s app.

TD, BMO and CIBC have all launched their own versions of chatbots or smart assistants to help out with various banking features, a move that younger generations may be drawn towards but older ones may find cumbersome.

“As mobile apps rapidly become the primary interaction channel for retail bank customers, it’s become critical for banks to make sure their customers completely understand all of the features their apps include and continue to add value through the digital channel,” said Neuhaus.

On the flip side, and maybe unsurprisingly so, those who use banking apps frequently have higher satisfaction rates. This could be tied into the idea that these customers fully understand the features each app has to offer, or have become reliant on the app so any other method of banking would seem odd.

The best-performing apps in the study have both a lot of features as well as a high standard of performance. This means a focus on multiple security login options, built-in chat functionality and account management functions leads to more satisfaction from customers.

Despite RBC’s app placing first in terms of overall satisfaction, the gap between the big five was not large—only 20 points out of the 1,000 point scale. RBC scored 832, TD scored 826, CIBC scored 825, Scotiabank scored 817, and BMO scored 812.