The best mobile banking apps of October 2021

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The best banking apps of October 2021

Choosing the right bank is a big decision. And if you frequently bank from your phone, you want to choose a bank with a strong app.

The best banking apps have easy-to-use interfaces that make it easy to do the basics: view your account balances, deposit checks, and contact customer support. With some apps, you can also do things like see your balance without logging in or track your credit score.

Here are our favorite banking apps right now:

Ally

Apple | Google Play

Pros:

Savings buckets let you save for separate goals, like “Emergency fund” and “Travel Account”If you enable the Surprise Savings feature, Ally evaluates how much you can afford to save in your checking account, then automatically transfers extra money into savings up to three times per weekAccess to 24/7 live customer support, both over the phone and via chatPay friends and family with ZelleUse mobile check depositAlly pays competitive rates on the money market account, savings, and CDs

Cons:

There’s no way to deposit cashSome of our other top picks have better average scores in the Google Play store

Betterment

Apple | Google Play

Pros:

Betterment reimburses all ATM and foreign transaction fees, making it a good option for travelersInvest, save, and spend all in one appUse mobile check depositEarn cash-back rewards with the Betterment Checking AccountBetterment evaluates your checking account to determine if you have extra money; if so, it sweeps it into your savings account

Cons:

You can’t create joint accountsThere’s no way to deposit cash

Capital One

Apple | Google Play

Pros:

Capital One Doesn’t charge foreign transaction feesIt’s primarily an online bank, but it also has branches in eight states and Washington, DCSend money to family and friends with ZelleUse mobile check depositTrack your credit score in the appIt pays a competitive savings APY

Cons:

Although rates are above average, you can still find higher savings and CD rates with some of our other top picks

Charles Schwab

Apple | Google Play

Pros:

Charles Schwab reimburses all ATM and foreign transaction fees worldwide, making it a great bank for travelersInvest, save, and spend in the same appUse mobile check deposit

Cons:

Some of our other top picks have better Google Play ratingsYou must invest with Charles Schwab to open a checking accountThe bank pays low ratesThere’s no way to deposit cash

Chase

Apple | Google Play

Pros:

Manage your bank accounts, investments, and credit card/card points in the same appTrack your credit score with the appUse mobile check depositSend money to family and friends with Zelle and Chase QuickPaySet up automatic savings transfers and create folders for separate savings goals, like “Vacation Fund” or “College Savings”There are are over 4,700 branches and 16,000 free ATMs around the US

Cons:

Chase pays low interest ratesYou’ll pay monthly service fees on accounts, unless you qualify to waive them

Chime

Apple | Google Play

Pros:

Receive your paycheck and other direct deposits up to two days earlyEarn a high savings APYThe Chime Savings Account helps you save in two ways: Set up a percentage of direct deposits to automatically go into savings, and round debit card purchases up to the nearest dollar and put the spare change into savingsUse mobile check depositYou can deposit cash, which isn’t an option with all online banking platforms

Cons:

When you deposit cash at a GreenDot location, you’ll pay a feeYou must open a checking account to qualify for a savings accountThere are no joint accounts

Discover

Apple | Google Play

Pros:

Access live customer support 24/7Track your credit score in the appManage your bank accounts and credit card in the same appUse mobile check depositEarn high rates on savings and CDsEarn cash-back rewards on the Discover It Cash Back checking account

Cons:

You’ll need at least $2,500 to open a CD or money market account

Huntington Bank

Apple | Google Play

Pros:

Huntington ranks No. 1 in customer satisfaction for a regional bank in the 2020 J.D. Power 2020 US Banking Mobile App Satisfaction StudyUse mobile check depositView your account balances without logging inThe Huntington Heads Up feature alerts you if there is suspicious activity on your account or if you’re close to overdrawing

Cons:

As this is a regional bank, there are only branches in seven US statesHuntington pays low rates

Synchrony

Apple | Google Play

Pros:

Track your credit cards and bank accounts in the same appUse mobile check depositEarn high rates on savings and CDs

Cons:

Synchrony doesn’t have a checking accountThere’s no way to deposit cash

Methodology

To choose our favorite banking apps, we only looked at apps with at least 5,000 reviews in both the Apple and Google Play stores. Then we narrowed it down to apps with strong average ratings in both stores.

We selected apps for banks that are available in a large chunk of the US. This could mean that a bank has branches in multiple US states, or that it operates online.

Our top picks have competitive products that set them apart from other institutions. For example, a bank may pay high interest rates, have tools to help you save money, or let you receive paychecks early.

Where applicable, we also looked at customer satisfaction ratings on J.D. Power surveys. The BB&T app had the highest customer satisfaction of all banking apps surveyed, and Huntington’s app was the highest-ranking app for regional banks.

Frequently asked questions

What is a banking app?

Most big banking institutions have apps you can download in the Apple or Google Play store. You’ll create a username or password. If you’ve already used online banking on your web browser, the login information is probably the same. The app layout should be similar to the browser layout.

With a banking app, you should be able to do basic things you’d normally at a bank – deposit checks, speak with a representative, and see your account balances.

Are banking apps free?

Most banking apps are free when you have an account with the bank. But keep in mind that the accounts themselves could come with some fees.

Some banks charge monthly service fees, unless you qualify to waive them. You could also pay fees for overdrawing your account, using an out-of-network ATM, or using your debit card in a foreign country.

What do I need from a banking app?

At the very least, you should be able to use your banking app to check you account balances, transfer money between your own bank accounts, deposit paper checks with the app’s camera, and find customer service contact information.

Our top banking apps include even more robust features. When thinking about which features you need, think about your banking habits.

Do you like to see all your financial information in one place? You might like to bank, invest, and open a credit card with the same company, and track them all in one app. You also may want an app that displays your credit score.Do you have an unconventional work schedule or busy life? Maybe you want an app with 24/7 live customer support.Do you want help saving for your goals? Find an app with automatic savings tools, or with savings buckets that let you organize your different goals.

Finally, keep an eye out for for high-yield savings accounts, low fees, or early direct deposit features when shopping for a banking app. You want the app to be attached to a bank that offers products and features you want.

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