Twelve hours ago, Wells Fargo became the last of the “big four” banks to release a native iPhone app in the Apple App Store (see screenshot below; note 1). The bank, which has long been a pioneer online, let Bank of America reap much of the branding benefits of their association with iPhone banking for the past two years.
But we are glad to see Wells Fargo available and enjoyed checking our balance via iPhone for the first time. At just 0.1MB, the application was a quick download and compatible with my first-generation iPhone. There’s no need to first visit the bank’s website, as the app can be immediately used with your normal online banking username/password (see note 2).
While it won’t win any design awards, it’s simple to use with the typical online banking functions: balance inquiry, transaction listings, funds transfer, bill pay and GPS-enabled ATM/branch finder. Only the 12,000 Wells or Wachovia ATMs are listed in its database.
During the initial signon, the app encouraged users to create a short account nickname for easier reading on the small screen. And the bank also prompted me to sign up for text-message banking, something I hadn’t used at Wells before. When I agreed to do so, a six-digit confirmation code was texted to my phone, which I entered back into the app.
There is no mention of the new app on the Wells Fargo site.
Wells Fargo listing in Apple iTunes App Store (18 May 2009; link)
1. Big four U.S. banks: Bank of America, Citibank, Chase/WaMu, Wells/Wachovia.
2. We’d previously registered our mobile number, which may have eased the activation hurdle.