Inconvenient and obsolete: a review of the mobile applications of the four largest US banks

Bank of america

The main function of the start screen is to enter the application. The interface is inconvenient: small text and four cards that scatter attention.

The login and password fields are stuck together – it’s difficult to get into them with your finger. Rectangular shapes without rounding at the corners are unpleasant for the eyes.

On each page of the application there is a footer with legal information. If you click on the link, a message appears: “You are going to another site. We want you to know: the site owner is responsible for its content. His privacy policy may differ from ours, so please read it. ” And two answers: “Yes” and “No”.

Two questions arise:

  • Why report that does not directly affect the user? If this is something serious, you need to talk about the consequences.
  • There is no question in the message, but there are answer options. What do I agree with? What am I giving up? What will happen next?

We are trying to order a new credit card. We get not to a separate section of the application, but to the bank’s website. Choose the type of account, terms of service and type of card. To understand the conditions for servicing a separate card, you will have to read the small text and delve into how points and bonuses differ from rewards. After a long quest, click on the confirmation, and the site reports that the system is unavailable.

After that, we plan a meeting with a bank employee. We are again thrown to the bank’s website. This time everything works – we made an appointment. The affirmation button at the bottom of the screen upsets: it is too narrow.


The application of the second largest bank in the United States looks neater and more concise.

On the start screen, credit card balance. The balance here is the absence or presence of debt, and not the available funds. The amount of available funds is indicated below.

On the first screen everything looks more or less decent, but as soon as we go deeper into the application, we will again see canvases of a small legal text.

In the “Bonuses” section there is a list of gas stations throughout the country where you can get a cashback. There is no map with geolocation, as well as a list of stations nearby.

Functionality is very limited. All that the application offers:

  • view reports;
  • exchange rewards;
  • View payment history
  • request a new payment date;
  • replace a lost or damaged card;
  • recommend the bank to friends.

There are not many more options in the side menu:

  • View your bills
  • open an investment account;
  • get acquainted with new products of the bank;
  • find the nearest ATMs.

You can’t transfer money to relatives or replenish the balance of your cell.

We tried to schedule a payment, but received a message: “You cannot schedule a payment due to a zero balance, and your account is not intended for additional payments.” How to fix this, the bank does not say.


Citibank’s dark blue start screen looks neat. But functionality suffers: on the main screen we see only the card and its number.

Otherwise, the interface looks more modern and better than that of competitors. But on the following screens, problems begin: text sheets and separate windows to select a payment date.

There are frank flaws. When planning a trip, the bank suggests choosing the card that you want to protect from blocking during the trip. But there is only one card in the list, you need to choose it, otherwise there is no further way. The only thing you can do after confirming the dates is to see a list of all the trips.

In case of loss or theft of a card in banking applications, there is a “Lock Card” feature. We are trying to do this in the Citibank application.

We see the message: “If you notice something suspicious, call the online bank or go to your personal account from your laptop and inform that the card has been lost or stolen.” Instead of giving the client the opportunity to quickly block the card and order a new one, the bank offers to look for a hotline phone and explain the situation to the manager.

In the upper right corner we notice “Continue”, which leads to the next section. There you can request a new card. But there are two obscure points:

  • Is a lost card blocked after ordering a new one? There is no information about this anywhere.
  • If the client is in another city, he will be able to order a card at the address indicated for the old card. You cannot change the delivery address in the application – only from a computer.

TD Bank

TD Bank app home page:

  • The buttons at the top of the screen duplicate the list of options at the bottom.
  • The main element of the page – the “Apply Now” button is made in the best traditions of 2004. It is smaller than the rest of the objects: it was literally crushed by two blocks.

We could not evaluate the operation of the TD Bank application, since it does not work in Russia. After going to any section, a message appears: “We are working on it.” According to Artyom Gorodetsky, it has been like this for all six years that he is being served at a bank.

Why it happens

The main reason for these outdated interfaces is the clumsy and conservative US banking system. Bureaucratization and regulation of the market have led to the fact that in a developed country they create complex and uncomfortable products.

In 2018, US banks continue to play the role of a “reliable vault of money” and seem not to think about the usability of their mobile products for the client. Designer Michael Junda names three issues that are causing this.

Applications written in old code

The first bank in the United States appeared in 1781. The first online banking was in the 1980s. And by 2000, already about 80% of US banks offered this service. For example, in 2001, Bank of America had 3 million online users.

It is very painful for businesses and customers to close sites and applications in order to update them to more modern versions. As a result, banks have to build new applications based on the old code, which was last updated in 2007. For banks that appeared after 2007, applications look more modern and understandable.

Banks are too regulated by the state

Any change goes through several stages of approval. Bank of America has 36 million users of Internet banking and 25 million active users of the mobile application. With this volume of users, you need to release new updates carefully and regularly.

Banks learn from each other’s negative experiences

The new design begins with research. It usually involves an analysis of competitors and other companies in the market with similar problems. And often banks copy unsuccessful decisions from each other.

But Michael Janda believes that not everything is lost.

Everything changes gradually. I have been serving at Wells Fargo for over 20 years. Last year, they released a new version of the mobile application with radical improvements and improvements in UX. Change is occurring, but not as fast as desired.


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