Each year, my colleague Andrew Hogan and I review mobile websites of top Canadian banks to understand how effectively banks are meeting customers’ expectations, specifically when it comes to finding, researching, and applying for a chequing account. We review functionality and observe users as they try to complete their goals. In this year’s report, we evaluated the mobile websites of BMO, CIBC, National Bank, RBC, Scotiabank, and TD Canada Trust from both a functionality and user experience perspective.

Here are some of the highlights:

  1. TD leads overall with top scores in functionality and user experience. TD has scored consistently well in user experience (UX) over the years, but its functionality score improvement pushed it to the front of the pack this year. The bank’s improved onboarding experience is greatly responsible for that, with cross-selling of additional products and services, personalized messages outlining next steps, and clear reasons to set up and use digital banking services. TD also has helpful educational content that users can filter by goals to find relevant articles and posts.
  2. TD’s clear navigation and intuitive design stood out to users. TD earned the highest UX score in our evaluation for the third time in a row. A prominently located comparison tool, which was not common across the banks we reviewed, allows prospects to find and easily compare chequing accounts. The site itself has good content divisions and a clear page layout; it isn’t cluttered, making it easy for prospects to navigate the site and find the information they’re looking for.
  3. Canadian banks made major improvements to their onboarding experiences. In the past few years, Canadian banks have made significant improvements to their onboarding programs. BMO, National Bank, and TD stood out this year with digital welcome kits, personalized checklists, and mobile-friendly emails to guide new customers through the onboarding process. A few banks even took it a step further and included additional features, like the ability to get help with their accounts via Facebook chat.
  4. Most Canadian banks still overlook the importance of chat. While many banks offer chat as a convenient option for current clients, most banks are still lagging when it comes to chat options for their prospects. Even though all the banks we reviewed had access to human help on their site, none had chat that was always available, proactively offered, and effective in answering questions. Only TD had chat available on both its mobile site and application. It’s clear that today’s consumers expect chat, and the user feedback we received on the lack of chat on most Canadian banks’ mobile sites verified that.
  5. Unclear and jargony language hurt Canadian banks this year. Bank websites can be intimidating to many customers, and unclear or jargon-rich language on banking products may scare them away completely. This year, many Canadian banks traded good UX for marketing content and confusing descriptions of products that included words like “packaging” or “bundling.” This language left many users highly confused, and many doubted that they were even in the right section of the website for chequing accounts at some points.

For more information on our findings from this year’s Forrester Digital Experience Review™ on Canadian banking sales mobile sites, be sure to check out the full report here as well as the US edition here.

(This post was cowritten with Nicole Murgia, researcher.)