Mobile banking has become an integral and key component of society, constantly evolving to deliver improved convenience and ease for consumers. The findings of this year’s seventh annual Mobile Deposit Benchmark Report reflect the impact of increased smartphone use among customers accessing banking services.
The report highlights higher expectations among mobile banking customers and an accompanying increase in frustrations when those expectations are not met. While technological improvements have made the experience better overall, nearly one in five consumers cite technical issues as a barrier to digital banking.
Among the broad array of mobile banking capabilities available to consumers, turning debit (and/or credit) cards off/on was ranked as critical or important by 83% of mobile banking users, followed by mobile deposit, which was used by 44% of customers.
Rising rates of fraud and the effect it is having on consumer confidence is also reflected in the report. Of particular concern is check fraud, which has victimized 13% of consumers and 31% of small businesses.
We'll take you through the highlights of the report in this article. But to get deeper insight into best practices for improving channel migration, customer satisfaction, and end-to-end mobile payments readiness, download and explore the full report.
Six Mobile Deposit trends
Top banks prioritize customer experience and clear communication
In this year’s mobile deposit rankings, customer experience continues to be a top factor. The attention to usability and communicating mobile deposit limits (cited by consumers as their biggest frustration) were attributes of top-performing mobile banking applications this year.
U.S. Bank was, for the third year running, ranked as the top choice for mobile deposit customer experience. Chase and Wells Fargo ranked second and third respectively, both entering the top three for the first time.
The top three came out as frontrunners thanks to their careful balance of cutting-edge technology, user-friendly design, and clear communication.
U.S. Bank distinguished itself with unique innovations such as chatbots and OCR technology and customers citing their pleasure with the ability to manage multiple accounts and consistent improvement over time.
Chase’s accessible interface and digital assistant demonstrated effective user support while Wells Fargo was recognized for enhancing its check deposit experience with detailed guidelines and secure features.
These top banks—all leveraging technology and user-centric design to meet and exceed customer expectations— represent the gold standard in mobile deposit experiences.
Mobile banking usage is up
Mobile banking usage rose across all services between 2020 and 2023. Nearly nine in ten smartphone owners accessed their checking account(s) using a smartphone or tablet in the past 12 months, compared to seven in ten in 2020.
However, while many top banks and top credit unions are wisely focused on a mobile-first strategy, the maturing of the user base has resulted in higher customer expectations. As customers come to expect extensive mobile capabilities from their FIs and these become less of a novelty, we see an increase in frustration when their expectations are not met.
The most valued mobile banking services are…
79% of users rated mobile deposit as a “critical” or “important” feature in 2023. In fact, Mobile deposit has risen one spot from 2022 as the second most important feature to mobile banking users. Turning a card off/on or the ability to report a lost card still ranks highest at 83% when considering both “critical” or “important” rankings among mobile banking users.
Consumers are demanding faster access to funds
Problems with mobile banking rose in 2023 with the most cited issues being funds not being available quickly enough and difficulties obtaining a clear picture of a check when attempting to use mobile deposit.
For those who chose not to use a smartphone or tablet to deposit a check, the most cited explanations were close proximity to a bank branch or ATM (51%), wanting faster access to the funds (25%) and the check exceeding the single check limit (24%).
The big movers on the list this year enabled customers to deposit checks with larger value and funds availability, illustrating that consumers now not only require strong technical capabilities but are looking for improvements related to check processing too.
Rising fraud is causing concern
Concern over fraud can inhibit consumers’ use of mobile banking. Eighty percent report being concerned that their personal information could be illegally obtained as their reliance on mobile banking grows.
The increased incidence of mail-related check fraud, where stolen checks are often washed and used illegally, has not gone unnoticed by consumers where they reported check fraud of particular concern. This is perhaps unsurprising for small businesses as they are big users of checks with more than 55% of them receiving more than 50 checks a month.
The unique needs of small businesses must be recognized
Small businesses have different requirements from account holders. Many have a higher volume of checks to deposit and are looking to process them quickly for cash flow. At the same time, the higher utilization of checks as a form of payment makes small businesses a target for fraudsters seeking to commit check fraud.
The report finds that just 18% of small businesses reported “no concern” or “not much concern” regarding check fraud, a reflection of the growing numbers who have already fallen victim to the crime.
The Mobile Deposit Benchmark Report shows that small business satisfaction with mobile deposit is high, rating 86 out of 100. However, this still leaves room for improvement. Small businesses that are dissatisfied with mobile deposit have a much lower utilization rate, placing the impetus on banks and credit unions to identify strategies to address their challenges and increase user engagement.
It’s clear that consumer expectations for an outstanding mobile banking experience are being influenced by new digital capabilities. What was once a novelty is now a basic expectation, raising the spectre of increased levels of frustration when technical barriers and issues occur. For example, when users were asked why they chose not to use a smartphone or tablet to deposit a check, 22% of respondents explained they had tried but had technical difficulties.
The top-rated banks are focusing on solutions that provide customers with convenient, clean, and intuitive user interfaces that communicate effectively and provide users with the information they require such as check limits and cut-off times for deposits. The report highlights that banks and top credit unions should seek to make incremental improvements around navigation, communication, and overall ease of use to remain competitive with the leaders in mobile deposit capabilities.
Customers continue to be frustrated by check limits and the speed at which funds can be accessed. Mobile banking users want faster access to their funds and improved ease of use. All the categories for increased adoption of mobile deposit rose slightly in 2023 with 50% of consumers citing faster access to cash as a contributing factor.
The report emphasizes the effect on consumers and, particularly, small businesses of the rise of check fraud and makes clear this is where future investment is needed.
The digital banking experience matters to both consumers and small businesses. Improvements to the digital banking experience are needed to ensure that users’ rising expectations about what it is possible to achieve from technological advances, are realized – and that how they can get the best from mobile banking is communicated clearly and effectively.
With rising expectations regarding customer experience, speed, and efficiency, it is crucial for financial institutions to apply a discipline of continuous improvement to keep their capabilities on par with competitors.
Fraud is clearly also shaping the way users think about and interact with their banks and credit unions. The recent surge in check fraud has led to many financial institutions increasing risk precautions, causing delays with funds availability and single check limits that result in consumer frustration. Customers are asking for improvements to be made to mobile banking that bolster confidence in financial institutions’ proactive fraud prevention strategies while also balancing the desire for faster availability of their funds.
To access all the information gathered across the top 20 U.S. banks and credit unions and ensure your financial institution is delivering the best Mobile Deposit experience, download the full report.
All phases of this research project—which includes criteria selection, scoring methodology design, data collection and analysis, and reporting— were conducted independently, without influence from Mitek as the report’s sponsor.