Mobile Monday: Top 50 iPhone and iPad Apps in the Finance Category

app store logo.jpg

I knocked around Apple App Store last week researching our year-end Online Banking Report. Below are the current top free finance apps in the U.S. store (note 1). While there are not a whole lot of surprises, several are notable:

  • Credit Karma maintains its top-10 ranking (#9)
  • Intuit has three of the top-10 apps (#4, 6, 8) plus #30
  • Two of the top-5 financial institution iPhone app providers (PayPal and Capital One) do not yet have iPad apps
  • Three credit-monitoring apps are in the top 32 (Credit Karma #9, Intersections #23 and Experian #32)
  • Two banks each have two apps in the top 50: Capital One (#6 and #34) and PNC (#25 and #42)
  • Five fintech startups made the top 22 (Credit Karma #9, LearnVest #15, Lemon #19, Pageonce #20, Manilla #22); all but Lemon are Finovate alums (note 2)

Methodology: I first listed the top 50 iPhone apps from the “Free Finance” category (column 2). Then I went to the iPad store and found their corresponding iPad app rank (column 3). I then listed all the remaining iPad apps in the top 50 and their corresponding iPhone rank (last 20 rows below).

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Top iPhone/iPad Finance Apps in Apple App Store (USA)

Company iPhone Rank iPad Rank
PayPal 1 none
Chase 2 3
Bank of America 3 1
Mint (Intuit) 4 5
Wells Fargo 5 2
TurboTax (Intuit) 6 31
Capital One 7 none
TaxCaster (Intuit) 8 16
Credit Karma 9 none
American Express 10 7
Discover 11 13
Citibank 12 10
USAA 13 8
State Farm 14 47
LearnVest 15 none
Yahoo Finance 16 11
Easy Envelope Budget 17 42
US Bank 18 26
Lemon 19 none
Pageonce 20 23
Fidelity 21 12
Manilla 22 none
Identity Guard (Intersections) 23 none
Navy Federal FCU 24 none
PNC 25 19
iSpending 26 116
Barclaycard 27 35
Mortgage Calc (Zillow) 28 20
TD Bank 29 none
Quicken Money Management (Intuit) 30 17
TD Ameritrade 31 27
FreeCreditScore.com (Experian) 32 55
Pocket Expense 33 15
ING Direct (Capital One) 34 none
Quicken Loans 35 none
E*Trade 36 33
Spending Tracker 37 28
SunTrust 38 none
Western Union 39 none
iSpreadsheet 40 9
BB&T 41 46
Virtual Wallet (PNC) 42 40
Bloomberg 43 22
Budget 44 none
Expensify 45 53
Ally Bank 46 none
HSBC Personal 47 none
H&R Block 48 24
Bluebird (AmEx) 49 none
Seeking Alpha 50 none
Below top 50 iPhone    
Craigslist mobile not in finance 4
Money Magazine none 6
ShareBuilder (Capital One) 114 14
CNBC 55 18
Real-time stock tracker 64 21
Vanguard 58 25
Morningstar Stockinvestor 198 29
Personal Capital 92 30
Regions Bank 54 32
Visual Budget 62 34
Merrill Lynch 84 36
Bloomberg TV 125 37
Mortgage calculator (Trulia) 102 38
SmartMoney Retirement Planner (Dow Jones) none 39
Bills for iPad (iBear) not in top 300 41
Budgets for iPad (iBear) 162 43
Checkbook free 53 44
Smart Budget 120 45
TD Ameritrade Mobile Tracker 86 48
EZ Financial Calculators 63 49
Schwab 60 50

Source: Netbanker observation of Apple App Store directly from iPad and iPhone around 6 PM Pacific, 7 Jan 2013

None = No app listed with the App Store for that device

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Note:
1. The Apple ranking system is a bit of a black box. But it’s generally believed to weigh heavily recent download activity.
2. Easy Envelope Budgeting (#18) is from a San Francisco-based Web developer Dayspring Technologies founded in 1998.

ANZ’s Mobile Banking App is So Well Integrated, it Almost Feels Like Apple Built It

image image I look at lot of mobile banking apps. But there are several thousand in the U.S. alone, so I’m not going to claim that I know which one is “best” or even who should be in the top-100.

But I will say, of the mobile banking apps I’m familiar with, ANZ Bank’s is right up at the top. Kudos to the bank and Fiserv’s M-Com unit that helped with development.  

Why is it so good? It’s full featured, of course. But it’s the first banking app that feels like it runs WITHIN the iPhone instead of being bolted on. It’s almost like what Apple would have done if it was building a banking app right into the operating system (notes 1, 2, 3).  

I especially like how the person-to-person payments function integrates with iPhone Contacts. And how iPhone’s photo gallery can be used throughout the app to illustrate goals and payees with your pictures (click on inset above for a better view) and to store bill payment-receipts (see screenshot below).

But never mind what I think, look at actual customer usage. According to a July 15 investor presentation, in the year since it was released, the ANZ goMoney already accounts for 26% of the bank’s total online traffic. If ANZ mobile can continue that pace for another 12 months, it will surpass regular PC-based online traffic by this time next year.   

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ANZ goMoney demo video is definitely worth two minutes of your time
Note: Clickthrough below to ANZ website and play the video (the version on YouTube is the older version of the app)

Demo video of ANZ goBanking iPhone app

Notes:
1. Hyperbole alert. It’s Friday afternoon, so I may be getting a bit carried away. But I stand by the opinion.  
2. I don’t have an ANZ account, so I’m basing my observations on the superb demo video, complete with Apple-esque soundtrack (see screenshot above).

Chase Bank’s Jot App Shows the Future of Mobile Transaction Processing

image image I’ve been waiting for something like Chase Bank’s Jot (see note 1). It’s part of the "second wave" of mobile apps that demonstrate why mobile banking will soon be better than online banking.
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Mobile banking phase 1: 2008 through 2011
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Mobile’s first wave was all about porting the most-used online functions, balance inquiry and statement viewing, to a smaller screen. That was convenient for smartphone owners on the go, but it didn’t add much to the overall user experience. 

The test of whether you’ve nailed the mobile UX is if that even if you are within arm’s reach of your laptop, you still pick up the mobile to perform a function. Most mobile banking systems fail that test, i.e. you only use mobile banking when online access is inconvenient or insecure.
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Mobile banking phase 2: 2011+
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The second wave is much more interesting. Your mobile phone can do financial chores that simply cannot be accomplished online, for example:

  • Deposit a paper check via mobile camera (USAA, Chase, PayPal and many more)
  • Transfer money to your friend by "bumping" phones (PayPal, ING Direct)
  • Alert you to special merchant offers in your exact location that are redeemable simply by using your bankcard (BankOns)
  • Pay your bill automatically by scanning the billing statement (Mitek)
  • Upload paper receipts and append them to expense reports (Expensify)

And the latest addition to that list:

  • Receive feed of transactions and tag them with categories for future reference and reporting (Chase Jot)

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How Jot works
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Chase’s new app (announced 1 June 2011) may not be as cool as remotely depositing a check, but it’s much more useful for most cardholders. The iPhone and Android app, which is currently available only for the bank’s Ink business credit card, sends push notifications of each transaction (see inset) and enables users to (relatively) quickly append transactions with category information, i.e. "tag" transactions. 

image One key Jot feature, missing in most mobile banking services, is a running list of the transactions waiting to be tagged (see right).

That way, when the business owner has a few spare moments, they can quickly get caught up with their categorizing work. This ongoing attention will reduce the quarterly game of "what’s that transaction" played when finalizing the company books.

So not only does Jot save time, it potentially improves the quality of the accounting data, always a good thing for business management. 

The app also includes other business credit card management functions such as basic reports by tag, the ability to change employee credit limits, and info on outstanding balances and payment due dates.

While the functionality is still pretty basic (e.g., there is no way to add more than one tag to a transaction), there are only 60 days of transactions available, and login needs to be simplified, overall Jot is a winner. We are tagging it with an A-.

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Notes:
1. The Jot landing page is well done and includes a series of four short demo videos.
2. For OBR subscribers, see our previous Online Banking Reports on mobile banking and payments.

Southern Bancorp Launches "Shake and Bank" iPhone App Aimed at Youth

image It’s been more than six months since we last featured a new mobile app from a financial institution (see Arvest Bank’s financial calculators). It’s not because of lack of activity, or importance. In that time, more than 1,000 financial institution apps have been introduced and the market has really heated up.

But we focus on what’s new and different. And for the most part, the class of 2010 and 2011 have been “me-too” entries. Which is exactly as it should be. Every mid-sized and larger bank and credit union needs at least one app in the iTunes store, so the last 18 months have been about gaining competitive parity. 

But things will start to get more interesting again as financial institutions:

Southern Bancorp’s new mobile app, Shake and Bank, ticks all four boxes. It’s an iPhone/iPod Touch app designed to give kids (or any account holder) a quick look at the balance in their account. As you can see below, Shake and Bank is pretty much self-explanatory:

1. Open app (note 1)

2. Shake iPhone

3. See balance

The app requires a setup code to launch. According to the iTunes entry, the code can be obtained through the bank’s website or at a branch. But as of today, I see no mention of Shake and Bank, or mobile banking for that matter, at their website.

Bottom line: I’m a sucker for pigs, so obviously I like it. But more importantly, Southern Bancorp makes it easy to monitor account balances with a simple kid-friendly approach. And parents will appreciate the help reinforcing the savings habit (note 1).

Southern Bancorp has $1.1 billion in assets and 40 branches in Arkansas and Mississippi.
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Southern Bancorp’s iPhone app targeted towards kids (link, 25 April 2011)

Southern Bancorp's iPhone mobile banking app targeted towards kids      image 

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Notes:
1. Since I couldn’t test the app without an account, I assume there is no subsequent login requirement once you’ve entered the setup code. And more importantly, I hope that it oinks when shaken. 
2. For more info on mobile banking, see our previous Online Banking Reports.

Another Promising Mobile App that Does Away with Paper: Intuit’s SnapTax

imageI meandered into Intuit’s lab site today and ran across a nifty app released last year called TurboTax SnapTax. It allowed California residents to file simple tax returns by photographing their W-2 form, answering a few questions, then e-filing directly from the iPhone app (inset).

As you can see in the following video, the whole process could be completed in a few minutes. The app launched last year on Jan. 15, just in time for the 2010 tax season. The cost was $9.99 which included Federal and state e-filing. 

There’s no word yet on whether the company will be releasing a 2011 version (update: it launches Jan. 13, 2011 and is good in all 50 states). There is no entry in the iTunes store for SnapTax as of today. However, Intuit does have two tax tools available: TaxCaster to estimate your refund and MyTaxRefund to track it. 

Analysis: The Intuit app is part of a trend we expect to continue, using smartphone cameras to capture, store, and eliminate the need to store paper receipts and statements. And like Mitek’s Mobile Photo Bill Pay, Intuit’s Snaptax is much more than a dumb scanner. It takes the scan, reads the info, and assists in completing the transaction.

Opportunity for NetBankers: It’s probably too late for 2011 tax season, but if you can be the first one in your market to offer mobile-photo tax-prep next year, it should provide a healthy PR boost come April 2012. You might also consider offering a tax estimator and/or refund tracker to your mobile offering. 

Intuit’s SnapTax allowed California taxpayers to file directly from their iPhones in 2010.

The 12 Days of Mobile Banking

image In the holiday spirit, I thought I’d lay out the perfect mobile banking/payments app for 2011 (note 1). These are the features I hope to be using on my smartphone at this time next year: 

Security

  • Option to log in with 4-digit PIN only
  • Authorize unusual and/or declined card transactions and unusual checks presented for payment

Bank account management

  • Banking data presented in order of importance with new transactions in bold (like Gmail Priority Inbox, previous post)
  • Quick view of current balance with predicted balance going forward based on known upcoming transactions

Paper management

  • Deposit paper checks via camera (remote deposit)
  • Pay bills by taking a picture of the billing statement (photo bill pay)
  • Scan-and-store paper receipts and statements

Payments

  • Use NFC or bar-codes at the point of sale to make payments directly via phone, without the plastic
  • Pay bills or individuals via their mobile phone number

Alerts & calculators

  • Receive important alerts via push messages to the phone’s main screen
  • Take action or adjust alert sensitivity by responding to messages via text messaging or within the app
  • Key financial calculators, such as loan/mortgage payments

And a partridge in a pear tree.

Enjoy the real thing here:

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Notes:
1. I’m missing important features, but I had to stop at 12 to fit the holiday theme. Thanks for bearing with me.  
2. For more info on mobile banking, see our previous Online Banking Reports.
3. Photo credit: Apple holiday promotion in United Kingdom <itunes12daysofchristmas.co.uk>

2010 Saw 40-Fold Growth in the Number of Financial Institution iPhone Apps

image As hard as it is to believe, last year at this time only 30 financial institutions had apps in the U.S. iTunes App Store (note 1). And that was a full 18 months after Apple’s phone had opened its OS to third-party programs. A few in the industry still questioned whether smaller banks and credit unions would ever need a native iPhone app.

I think that question has been answered: In the past 12 months, the total financial institution app-count has rocketed upwards to more than 1,200, a 40-fold increase. That’s 100 new apps per month for the past 12 months.

In raw numbers, the past seven days have been relatively unremarkable with just 17 new FI apps. But it’s been one of the biggest weeks in terms of major launches:

  • BofA Merrill Lynch research library for iPad only (note 4; iTunes)
  • Capital One, whose app was released on Sunday, went to #5 Monday and is up to #4 when I checked a few minutes ago (see inset; note 2; iTunes)
  • NetSpend (iTunes)
  • Schwab, both v1 of its iPhone app (iTunes) and an iPad version of its On Investing magazine (iTunes)
  • SmartyPig (pending Apple approval)
  • Stanford Federal Credit Union, which used a striking background for its app home page (see below; iTunes)

imageAnd while it’s not nearly as crucial as the iPhone, we are waiting for a slew of iPad apps. Apparently, BBVA Compass demo’ed a cool unreleased iPad app at a mobile conference (note 4). And just today, Schwab released its monthly magazine in iPad format, an industry first.

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Notes:
1. See Online Banking Report #176, Table 18 (link subscription required)
2. Rank is of free apps in the Finance category in the U.S. store. The apps above it are #1 Bank of America, #2 Chase, #3 PayPal
3. HT David Eads in Mobile Manifesto
4. At the same conference as note 3, Bank of America revealed it hit the 6-million mark in active mobile banking users.

Arvest Bank Adds Suite of Calculators and Other Non-Transactional Services to iPhone App

image Like American Express, Arvest Bank is one of the dozen or so U.S. financial institutions with multiple apps in the Apple iTunes App Store (note 1). The bank has one app for account access and another which can be used only to find its branches and ATMs (app link).

Arvest iphone app v2.0

However, the non-transactional app, which debuted last November, is undergoing a major facelift, with version 2.0 due in the store shortly. The bank offered a sneak peek on its blog this week (see inset).

The update contains four new functions:

  • Calculators: The app now includes access to a suite of 40 financial calculators (e.g., loan payment calculator) saving customers the time and hassle of searching for similar tools within the App Store.
  • Customer Connect will use the user’s GPS location to provide location-sensitive customer service contacts, a great way for a financial institution to demonstrate their commitment to local service. 
  • Current Rates are easily accessible from a single button on the main page.
  • Arvest News houses its blog feed.

Bottom line: While these functions have been common on websites for a decade, as far as I know, this is the first app from a bank or credit union that includes all these features. Nice work.

Note:
1. In a search at AppFinder.com, there are currently 583 iPhone apps in the finance category with “bank” in their name or description. Another 483 contain “credit union” for a total of 1,066 banking apps. Not all of these are from financial institutions, but an estimated 70% to 80% FI apps.

With the Launch of Foursquare-powered Social Currency, American Express Now Has 7 iPhone Apps

In the spring, we predicted that 10 to 15 years from now there would be tens of thousands of iPhone apps from financial institutions alone (note 1). Our reasoning: Many (most?) larger FIs would have more than one app, perhaps dozens. At that time, nine financial institutions (note 2) were tied for most-prolific app deployers, each with two iPhone apps.

imageToday, I found out that American Express has blown that record away. With the release this week of a youth-oriented Foursqure-powered app, Social Currency (app link), the card issuer now has seven apps available for the iPhone alone (but still none for the iPad).

AmEx iPhone lineup
Two are from American Express Publishing (making the comparison to other financial institutions a little unfair):

  • Best New Chefs
  • Eat and Drink

Two are published by other companies:

And finally, three more from core card-issuers:

  • American Express used to access most AmEx cards
  • OPEN Forum for small business clients
  • mobileXtend that can only be used by employees of corporate clients who have licensed this service option 

American Express has seven apps available for the iPhone
Note: Shown here in search via iPad (22 Sep 2010)

American Express has seven apps available for the iPhone

Notes:
1. See Online Banking Report: The Case for Mobile Banking (published March 2010)
2. See Online Banking Report: Mobile Banking and Finance Apps (published April 2010)

BankSimple Provides Sneak Peek of User Interface on iPad App

imageThe bank that everyone’s talking about, and no one is using, finally released a few peeks at its user interface. Based on these screenshots posted on the bank’s homepage (see last screenshot), it looks like a killer iPad app (note iPad logo in upper left of first screenshot).

image The startup also unveiled a new logo, moving from the trendy gray/red (left) to a bolder font in a very bank-like and comforting blue.

Finally, the startup has purchased the .com version of their URL, an important, albeit expensive, pre-launch move. Currently, banksimple.com redirects to the old .net version.

Screenshots

1. Safe-to-spend balance appears to incorporate future scheduled payments and displays goals to help users keep the bigger picture in mind, rather than spending the $1,208 on drinks and dinner out.

image

2. The bank’s customer service focus illustrated in chat screen with co-founder Alex Payne. On the right you can get a glimpse of the transaction flow.

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3. My favorite screenshot. It indicates the bank will use out-of-band authentication, a must-have these days. It also demonstrates that BankSimple is really thinking through the UI. Instead of tiny little digits requiring reading glasses, the bank provides the 5-digit code in big, bold numbers. They are also rendered in an attractive flipboard style.

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Note: HT to Keith Caswell @kthcswll for the tip.