Banks are failing at mobile account opening while consumers continue to start a growing percentage of overall applications via smartphone. With nearly 1 in 3 checking account applicants turning first to smartphones, mobile origination is a huge problem for the banking industry that is long overdue for a makeover. A combination of poor user experience, confusing fraud screening processes, and an inability in most cases to save and resume applications continue to force applicants offline, or to competitors. Banks must better integrate their product marketing content with mobile banking experiences, and provide clear support and guidance during the application—even when it means suggesting that the customer come into a branch. Within two years, more than half of all new bank account applications will involve mobile devices. Bank can no longer afford to stitch together piecemeal solutions for mobile prospects, and must overhaul their siloed legacy applications to provide a consistent, compelling mobile experience across all lines of business.

Key questions discussed in this report:

  • How important is it for customers to complete applications in a single channel?
  • Why is more research not done on mobile devices?
  • How does the mobile account opening experience differ for new vs. existing customers?
  • What type of help do consumers look for when completing mobile account applications?
  • What services generate the most customer engagement from mobile onboarding?

Companies Mentioned: Bank of America, BBVA Compass, Chase, Citi, Navy Federal, PNC Bank, Regions Bank, Santander, SunTrust, U.S. Bank, USAA, Wells Fargo, Zions Bank


Javelin evaluated mobile banking features at the nation’s 28 largest retail FIs by total deposits, excluding banks focused on investment banking. To provide a true customer’s experience, account holders with seasoned checking and credit card accounts evaluated more than 150 mobile app features and captured screenshots for Javelin’s evaluation. Data was collected from June through September 2017. All criteria were reviewed and individually weighted by Javelin analysts. 

The consumer data in this report is based on information collected from Javelin surveys that targeted populations representative of the overall U.S. population in proportions of gender, age, and income:

  • A random-sample panel of 10,768 consumers conducted from April to June 2017. The margin of sampling error is ± 0.94% at the 95% confidence level.
  • A random-sample panel of 2,129 respondents collected online during December 2017. The overall margin of sampling error is ±2.12 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.