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6 Must-Haves in a Banking App

By Julie Anne Russell

  • PUBLISHED March 28
  • |

A well-designed banking app puts your checking and saving accounts right at your fingertips, 24/7. But they’re not all created equal. Here’s what to look for in the best mobile banking apps.


Easy Account Viewing
Bypass sign-in by choosing an app that shows your current balances, if you choose, right from a widget on your home screen or through voice command. With these features, you can instantly see or hear how much money is in your account (just be sure you’re not forgetting any outstanding checks or bill pay transactions). You can also keep tabs on your accounts to make sure you don’t see any suspicious activity, which might be a sign of fraud or identity theft.


Seamless Money Transfer and Linking to External Accounts
From within the app, instantaneously move money between your bank accounts—or to and from accounts you hold with other financial institutions. You can funnel money to checking if you’re running low. Or you can move healthy balances into a savings account to earn a higher interest rate on your rainy day fund. Ideally, you’ll be able to make as many transfers as needed, at no cost. 


Check Deposit
Get your money when you need it, and forget the headache of trying to find a check deposit envelope—or worse, making a trip to a local branch. Mobile check deposit allows you to use your smartphone to photograph a check and, within in the app, deposit it in your account.


Security That Gets Out of the Way
Don’t worry about unauthorized access to your account when your banking app is protected by advanced security features. Apps that use biometrics or facial recognition to protect your account from hacking also provide speedy access to your accounts when you want to check balances, make transfers or deposit checks.


Smart Design for Every Device
Whether you’re on your tablet or smartphone, look for an app that is optimized for each device—no zooming-in required! The app should be intuitively designed—meaning it’s easy to use with minimal instruction needed. You should find a streamlined dashboard to view your accounts, to access your profile details, and to quickly connect to customer service or online support.


Features that Meet Your Needs
For people with impaired vision, blindness or hearing impairment, an accessible app can make banking possible without assistance (For the uninitiated, smartphones can be customized to use larger type, screen readers and color contrast to help people with vision or hearing impairment to navigate apps.) Contact your bank to find out how they’ve designed their apps, so you can bank independently and securely.  

Julie Anne Russell is a Brooklyn-based freelance journalist. She writes on personal finance, small business, travel and more.

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