The term mobile-first, coined to describe a responsive design philosophy, has come to embody a strategic belief that smartphones are the primary means of reaching financial customers today. As the complexity of most mobile banking apps has increased, however, ease of use has remained stagnant, or even declined. Banks’ focus on mobile-first usability has run more to separate apps dedicated to specific functions, like budgeting or savings, or customer targets, such as Millennials. Little of this innovation has been integrated into banks’ mass market mobile banking apps. Many mobile banking features today still largely mirror the online banking capabilities from which they were launched. To keep pace with rapidly changing consumer expectations, banks must prioritize two separate agile development streams: one focused on responding to customers’ near-term needs, and an innovation group targeting more transformational change.

 Key questions discussed in this report:

  • What does “mobile-first” mean in the context of today’s mobile banking apps?
  • Do “mobile-first” concepts resonate only with younger generations?
  • Should you launch a separate app to appeal to younger customers?
  • What aspects of mobile banking are most in need of a mobile-first makeover?

Companies Mentioned: Amazon, Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, Facebook, Google, Moven, PNC, Simple, Wells Fargo


The consumer data in this report is based on information collected from Javelin surveys that targeted:

  • A random-sample panel of 10,768 consumers conducted from June to July 2017. The margin of sampling error is ± 0.94% at the 95% confidence level.
  • A random-sample panel of 3,182 respondents collected online during July-August 2016. The overall margin of sampling error is +1.74 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.