Mobile apps have become the touchpoint of choice for millions of people to manage their finances, and Forrester regularly reviews those of leading banks. We just published our latest evaluations of the apps of the big five Canadian banks: BMO, CIBC, RBC, Scotiabank, and TD Canada Trust.

Overall, they’ve raised the bar, striking a good balance between delivering robust, high-value functionality and ensuring that it’s easy for customers to get that value with a strong user experience. The top two banks in our review, CIBC and RBC, both made significant improvements to their app user experience (UX) over the past year by focusing on streamlining navigation and workflows. But our analysis also revealed ways all banks can — and should — improve, such as:

Banks should give customers a better view of their financial health. Banks we reviewed don’t provide external account aggregation, and they put the burden on the user to stay on top of their monthly inflows and outflows. They don’t offer useful features such as an account history view that displays projected balances after scheduled transactions hit the account — something leading banks in other regions of the world (like Europe and the US) do offer.

Banks should deliver relevant guidance at the right time. Banks too often assume that customers know what features are available and how they work — like what the fees are for an Interac e-Transfer. While some banks have help links available within task flows, the links don’t always deliver help that is relevant to that step or screen. Most banks also fall short on UX basics such as helping customers prevent and recover from errors.

Banks should show customers that their money and information are safe. Given that 36% of Canadian online adults who don’t use mobile banking say it’s because they feel it’s not secure, it’s crucial for the apps to reassure customers that the bank is protecting them through clear content about their privacy and security practices and with visual cues in the app. But most banks take customers out of the app to view privacy and security content or don’t invest enough user-centered design rigor in making sure this content is easy to understand and read.

That’s just a sampling — want to learn more? I encourage you to read the full report, “The Forrester Banking Wave™: Canadian Mobile Apps, Q2 2019,” or schedule an inquiry with me. We also just published our review of US mobile apps, as well — check out my colleague Peter Wannemacher’s blog post, The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly Of US Mobile Banking Experiences In 2019.