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SmartAsset: The 10 Best Mobile Banking Apps in 2021

Mobile banking apps have come a long way. Once upon a time, features like mobile check deposit were considered cutting edge. Now, consumers have come to expect that kind of functionality, along with seamless money transfers, bill pay, ATM locators and more. Today, some apps will even let you track accounts from different financial institutions. Others offer built-in financial wellness and budgeting platforms. Some turn your mobile device into a digital wallet. If mobile offerings are a deciding factor for you in choosing a bank, we’ve assembled this list of the 10 best banking apps in 2021.

Your banking account is just one component of your financial plan. Working with a financial advisor could help you reach other financial goals. 

Capital One: Best Online Mobile Banking App

Apple App Store Rating: 4.7/5

Google Play Store Rating: 4.5/5

J.D. Power has consistently rated Capital One’s mobile banking app very high in its annual “Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among Mobile Banking Apps” study (in 2021, it ranks third behind Bank of America and Chase). The people tend to agree, with Apple and Android users give the app fantastic 4.7- and 4.5-star ratings out of five, respectively.

And with its load of functionalities, it’s no surprise. The Capital One app lets you view all of your accounts including home and auto loans. You can also keep track of your credit score and redeem credit card rewards.

To keep track of your purchase and credit history, you can set up instant push notifications. And if you lose or misplace your Capital One card, you can easily lock it with a few taps on your phone. This ensures nobody has access to your money until you turn the card back on. In case you can’t find it, you can report fraud directly from the app.

Furthermore, Capital One covers a large mobile footprint. You can access your accounts via the Apple Watch for example. And you can securely log in via your phone by using your fingerprint.

Ally Bank: Best Mobile Banking App for Customer Service

Apple App Store Rating: 4.7/5

Google Play Store Rating: 4.2/5

Ally Bank stands as one of the leading institutions in the world of online bank. So it’s no surprise that the bank focuses on offering the best mobile banking experience it can.

For starters, the Ally Bank app and others on this list cover all the basics including mobile check deposit, free money transfers, online bill pay, transaction and balance histories and an ATM locator.

It also offers a clean and user-friendly interface. You can store your password and log-in using your fingerprint. Once logged in, you can track all of your accounts directly from your mobile device. That means you can keep tabs on everything from your savings account to your certificate of deposit (CD) to your individual retirement account (IRA).

You can even trade stocks and track investment performance via your mobile phone. While you’re at it, the Ally Bank app offers the latest market news to help you make the best investment decisions from the comfort of your living room. And Ally also has you covered with easy access to your statements and tax forms.

In addition, the Ally app gives you free access to Zelle®. Similar to services like Venmo® and PayPal®, this feature lets you transfer funds to others using just their email address and phone number. So there’s no need to exchange personal account information like bank account and routing numbers.

The Ally Bank app also allows you to download a built-in application called Card Control. This allows you to customize your debit card. For instance, you can set spending limits and control notifications.

Bank of America: Best Mobile Banking App for Security

Apple App Store Rating: 4.8/5

Google Play Store Rating: 4.6/5

J.D. Power also recognized Bank of America for customer satisfaction, ranking highest with a score of 871 in 2021. But where this app really stands out is in security. You can establish travel notices for eligible accounts, so you don’t experience any lack of access to your funds while away from home. You can also activate your card or order a replacement one directly from the app.

In addition, if the bank detects suspicious activity, they will contact you so you can verify transaction activity. In addition, you won’t be held liable for fraudulent mobile banking transactions when you notify Bank of America within 60 days of the transaction first showing up on your statement.

Varo: Best Mobile Banking App for Money Management

Apple App Store Rating: 4.6/5

Google Play Store Rating: 4.5/5

Varo fits well in this list, as the bank’s services are entirely mobile. While you can access your account through Varo’s website, the vast majority of its offerings are built to work best on your smartphone. Customers are apparently quite happy with Varo’s mobile app, as Apple users rate it at 4.6 stars out of 5, while Android users rate it at 4.5 stars out of 5.

Varo took the money management category because of its simple interface and extensive account tools. For example, users can set the app to send notifications when there’s activity with their account or debit card. This will allow you to keep detailed records of your spending so you don’t run into financial issues.

In addition, Varo allows its customers to connect outside accounts to the app, making it easier to view your finances in a more holistic manner. This also makes transferring money between your various accounts much more seamless.

Varo boasts two automatic savings features called Save Your Pay and Save Your Change. The former will let you set up the transfer of a predetermined percentage of every direct deposit to your savings account. On the other hand, the latter feature will round up every transaction you make with your account and send that change to your savings balance.

Wells Fargo: Best Mobile Banking App for Monitoring Investments

Best banking apps - Wells Fargo

Apple App Store Rating: 4.8/5

Google Play Store Rating: 4.8/5

Wells Fargo offers more than just your basic checking and savings accounts. You can also invest in various securities like stocks and mutual funds. And the Wells Fargo app lets you easily track your investments and open orders for your Wells Fargo Advisors and Wells Trade accounts. In addition, the app offers real-time quotes, market data and graphics to guide you in your investment decision-making and asset allocation. And to stay safe, the app lets you set up alerts via text or email.

Another notable feature that helps the Wells Fargo app beat the competition is its card-less ATM access option. You don’t even need to carry your card around to access your money via thousands of ATMs. You can just use your mobile phone. Just keep in mind that some ATMs might be inside locations that require a card for after-hours entry.

Chime: Best Mobile Banking App User Experience

best banking apps - Chime

Apple App Store Rating: 4.8/5

Google Play Store Rating: 4.6/5

Chime recently stepped into the banking arena as an online-only entity. And it brought a stellar mobile banking app with it. Truly designed for the digital age, Chime offers one of the best user experiences we’ve seen on a mobile banking app. But it’s more than just a pretty looking app.

In fact, you can substitute it as your debit card to access your funds via more than 32,000 fee-free ATMs in the national MoneyPass network. In addition, you can set up daily balance alerts and real time transaction notifications.

And to really put the icing on the cake, Chime Bank gives you access to your direct deposit up to two days early in certain situations. At the time of this writing, both Apple and Android users gave it high ratings.

Discover: Best Mobile Banking App for Rewards

Best banking apps - Discover

Apple App Store Rating: 4.9/5

Google Play Store Rating: 4.6/5

Discover offers all the mobile banking app bells and whistles you’d expect from a huge financial institution. However, it goes a step further by providing its clients with Discover Deals. This in-app marketplace offers deals on the latest brands. So the Discover app stands a solid option for all you serial shoppers and bargain hunters out there.

In addition, you can redeem your credit card rewards through the app. You’ll also be able to check your FICO credit score, and iPhone users can add their Discover cards to their Apple Pay Wallet right from the app.

PNC Bank: Best Mobile Banking App for Card-Less Purchases

Best banking apps - PNC
Apple App Store Rating: 4.8/5

Google Play Store Rating: 4.5/5

If you don’t like to carry your card around or often forget to bring it with you, the PNC mobile banking app may be right for you. While some banking apps let you use your phone as your debit card, PNC Bank extends access to your credit and SmartAcess Cards. With this app, you’ll never have to worry about not being able to make a purchase because you misplaced or lost your card.

In 2021, J.D. Power ranked PNC third in a tie for banking satisfaction among national banks. Apple customers give the PNC mobile banking app a near-perfect score of 4.8 stars out of 5 on the Apple app store. Android users also favor the app, as PNC’s Google Play Store rating is an only slightly lower 4.5 stars out of 5.

Charles Schwab: Best Mobile Banking App for Managing Multiple Accounts

Best banking apps - Charles Schwab

Apple App Store Rating: 4.8/5

Google Play Store Rating: 3.7/5

Charles Schwab has long been recognized as a giant in the brokerage industry, but it also runs a banking arm. And it delivers a powerful app that brings together all your financials, from your checking account to your 401(k). This app pairs well with the bank’s low-cost checking account and high-yield savings account.

You can use the app to open new accounts, trade everything from stocks to exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and access real-time market data right from your mobile device. In addition, its built-in Media Center provides you with Charles Schwab videos, podcasts and more. Overall, it’s a must for Charles Schwab clients with multiple accounts and a very useful tool for investors interested in opening one.

Chase: Best Mobile Banking App for Prepaid Cards

Best banking apps - Chase

Apple App Store Rating: 4.8/5

Google Play Store Rating: 4.4/5

J.D. Power ranked Chase in 2021 second after Bank of America in banking mobile app satisfaction among national banks. Apple users rate the app 4.8 out 0f 5, while the Google Play Store rates it 4.4 out of 5.

Unlike most major bank apps, the Chase app allows you to reload your Chase Liquid debit card. In fact, it offers access to most of your accounts including checking, savings, and credit card options as well as investments.

You can also easily manage your payments online. The Chase app allows you to pay bills, transfer money to friends via Zelle, and schedule payments for your credit card, mortgage or other loans. You can also see your TransUnion credit score in the app. And if you have one of Chase’s popular rewards credit cards, you can also view and redeem your Ultimate Rewards through the app.

Bottom Line

The world of mobile banking is an ever-expanding one, and you can bet that consumer demand will drive its future. You can also count on tech-focused banks to invest heavily in improving their products. But with so many options out there, you have to ask yourself what you really want out of a banking app. Do you like access to multiple accounts and being able to turn your phone into a digital wallet? Or do you value security above all? What about being able to trade stocks and make other investments? Whatever feature you find most appealing, there’s an app for you.

Tips on Finding the Best Mobile Banking Apps

  • If you’re ready to go beyond bank accounts, a financial planner could help you build a plan to meet other financial goals. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors in your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Some banks offer superior digital and mobile banking offerings compared to others, so shop around and see what works best for you. And of course, apps and websites are just one small piece of the puzzle – you’ll also want to make sure you’re getting a good interest rate. To give you some additional insight, check out our report on the Best Banks in America.

Photo credit: ©, Google Play Store

Javier Simon, CEPF® Javier Simon is a banking, investing and retirement expert for SmartAsset. The personal finance writer's work has been featured in Investopedia, PLANADVISER and iGrad. Javier is a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. He has a degree in journalism from SUNY Plattsburgh. Javier is passionate about helping others beyond their personal finances. He has volunteered and raised funds for charities including Fight Cancer Together, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
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