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Tablets for mobile banking? Javelin report identifies top three banks

by David Needle

April 20 2012

Citibank's banking app for Amazon's Kindle Fire got high marks for helping customers analyze their account spending, set goals and budgets.
Citibank's banking app for Amazon's Kindle Fire got high marks for helping customers analyze their account spending, set goals and budgets.

Mobile banking on tablets is booming. A new report says the number of tablet owners engaged in mobile banking is growing at twice the rate of non-tablet owners (49% vs. 22%).

Javelin Strategy & Research says it expects the growth of tablet banking will continue as overall tablet adoption is forecast to grow to 40% by 2016. 

Among other key findings in Javelins Tablet and Banking Report:

  • Apple holds the top market share with 55%.
  • Amazon’s Kindle Fire captured 10% of the tablet market in just a few months.
  • Tablet owners have higher rates of mobile person-to-person transfers.
  • Tablet owners are young (25-44), wealthy (incomes exceed $100,000 and have more investable assets), and use many bank products.

Javelin also identifies what it says are the three tablet banking market leaders: Bank of America, Citi and USAA, all of whom have pursued different strategies. 

Bank of America gets top marks for having the most native apps, with versions for the iPad, Kindle Fire, and Android. 

Less than 20% of the top 25 banks have native iPad or Android apps designed specifically for the device, most are ports of their smartphone apps. 

Javelin gives Citibank credit for its Kindle Fire app that it says provides effective and intuitive personal financial management tools that appeal to tablet consumers in “layback mode” to help them better analyze their account spending and set goals and budgets. 

USAA rounds out the top three for having the top-ranked tablet banking apps, receiving the highest consumer rating on Apple’s App Store.

Javelin’s research director Mary Monahan says financial institutions (FIs) should first optimize their mobile sites for tablets because most tablet owners access their bank accounts using browsers. 

“Only then should FIs deliver an enhanced experience and deepen customer relationships with downloadable apps,” says Monahan. “Our report provides a risk/reward framework so FIs can identify cost-effective solutions for optimization across platforms and allocate resources accordingly.”

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