Surviscor Canadian Consumer Banking Experience Reviews - CIBC provides the best mobile banking experience for Canadians

Canada's BEST and WORST Mobile Banking Experiences

CIBC provides the Best Mobile Banking experience for Canadians

What does Mobile Banking Experience mean? And how does it differ, if any, from Online Banking Experience? Both good questions with many underlying questions and the answer has continually evolved since 2013. Today, a mobile banking experience represents the banking experience a customer is faced with using either an application-based (iPhone, Android or Proprietary) platform or a mobilized version (adjusts to smaller hand-held devices) to perform its every day banking needs. In layman's terms, what's it like to bank using a phone or tablet. The Surviscor Mobile Banking Experience review identifies CIBC as the best overall banking firm, Tangerine as the best neo bank and Coast Credit Union as the best credit union for mobile banking experience in 2021.

In the beginning of the development movement to offer mobile device-based services to Canadians, the big banks were the only real show in town to compete with the big digital niche player ING Direct, now Tangerine and owned by Scotiabank. Next up were the credit unions who managed to come out of the gates with decent platforms as the decision to provide a similar experience amongst all Canadian credit unions meant that more credit unions could enter the mobile-based space. The long-time issue with credit unions is that have a knack for developing scaled-back versions compared to most big bank offerings, but that was good enough to beat out big banks like TD Canada Trust and BMO Bank of Montreal. Today, only Coast Capital Savings, who broke away from the norm in 2019 is fully competing with the top digital firms.

The last group to the party were the pure so-called digital and branchless firms known as neo banks. The definition of neo banks tends to be more associated with the new so-called fintech firms that offer deposit and credit services, but the pure definition really means branchless firms with either full or partial traditional banking services but offered through digital platforms. Surviscor research indicates that these offering are being over-marketed as leading-edge digital platforms because there are no branches, but it couldn't be further from the truth. The top firms to consider are bank-owned Tangerine and Simplii Financial with a mention for motusbank which is owned by Meridian Credit Union.

Lastly, there are so many firms that are completely missing the mark. For example, Laurentian Bank is the worst firm as it doesn't yet have an application-based mobile platform and it's mobilized online platform, designed by Central 1 and the credit union system, is not worth consideration. Another disappointment is HSBC Canada which lands in 23rd place which is confusing based on its popularity across Canada. Servus Credit Union, which is a leading Canadian credit union, is the worst ranked credit union platform and Alterna Bank, which is based on a new credit union mobile platform, is the worst ranked branchless firm.


The Big Banks are Dominating again

The six big banks under review all manage to land in the top 8 of the 24 ranked Canadian banking firms in 2021 indicating they provide superior mobile-based customer experiences tor Canadians. One would think this always been the case but until now, a firm like BMO Bank of Montreal sat outside of the top 10 looking in and both credit unions and neo banks. Recent improvements have changed that along with improvements at TD Canada Trust which is now securely in the top 5 for mobile-based banking.

Handheld Devices are not Alternatives; They are a Way of Life

Today's phones have come along way. They are bigger, faster and have tons of features which allows using them as a primary electronic vehicle to perform financial service transactions and enquiries including all banking interactions. So why are there so many firms lagging when it comes to offering full bank services on handheld devices? The answer is because they choose not to invest in what the consumer wants. The concerning part is that try and convince the customers, and themselves, that the extras are not in their best interests.

Be Careful with Neo Bank offerings - With less face-to-face comes less responsibility

Not having branches does not mean that a firm is a fintech digital expert or is heavily invested in servicing a customer. The results show the contrary. The newer platforms are designed to attract the new digitally savvy customers who apparently want less and in cases like EQ Bank, which is really a mortgage company, to take assets away from the traditional firms and cross-sell larger items down the road using low fees and competitive deposit rates as the hook. The issue is one would think that being branchless enhances the need for an enhanced digital offering, but the results clearly show differently.

The Credit Union system is letting customers down

The downward trend continues through the Canadian credit union system except for Coast Capital Savings who sits comfortably in 6th place ahead of a few notable big banks. The story is different at the rest. While both Conexus Credit Union and Meridian Credit Union provide respectable platforms, customers at the other firms should seriously consider some changes as they receive standard functionality with basic information, losing out in terms of comparable customer experiences.

THE OVERALL WINNERS - CIBC, Tangerine and Coast Capital Savings

The 2021 produced one overall winner and two individual winners to better reflect the current Canadian landscape and the existence of neo banks and credit unions. Here is what we like and some areas we do not like about each individual winner:

CIBC - #1 Overall and Best Big Bank

For the third straight year, CIBC is both the best firm amongst the Canadian big banks and more importantly, the best overall firm across the complete 24 firms reviewed. The impressive trend is that CIBC continues to grow its platforms each year, managing to out-pace its big bank peers year after year.

What We Like:

  • Intuitive mobile platform design with supporting mobile-browser options
  • Clear and online-inclusive mobile navigational structure and options
  • Strong pre-login site with excellent account opening process
  • Bill payment process provides customers with an above-average experience
  • Customers can order foreign cash using mobile devices

What We Do Not Like:

  • Removal of e-contact methods forcing visitors to correspond via social media channels or by phone

TANGERINE - #2 Overall and Best Neo Bank

Scotiabank's neo bank Tangerine continues to outperform its corporate owner, but the gap is tightening. Like CIBC, Tangerine has sat at the top of Canadian mobile banking industry right from the inception of industry platforms and continues to outperform the other 5 big banks.

What We Like:

  • Strong pre-login site with excellent account opening process
  • Availability of account notifications through Orange Alerts
  • Refer-A-Friend program with cash-back using personalized Orange keys
  • Ability to use mobile platform for account customization

What We Do Not Like:

  • Removal of e-contact methods forcing visitors to correspond via social media channels or by phone
  • Newest mobile navigational design to support industry leading functionality

COAST CAPITAL SAVINGS - #6 Overall and Best Credit Union

Coast Capital Savings is a BC-based firm with a Canadian charter who has taken control of its development path through its non-traditional credit union mobile banking platform, allowing it to compete with both the big banks and Tangerine through a differentiating customer experience than its credit union peers. Coast Capital Savings fell one position in 2021 despite some good improvements due to TD Canada Trust's improvements.

What We Like:

  • Informative account analysis tool that compliments clear and concise account information
  • Ability for members to save their favourite transactions for future use
  • Login process with supporting security features

What We Do Not Like:

  • Platform lacks many of the industry's account resources
  • Lack of non-traditional banking transactions


The Surviscor Canadian Mobile Banking Experience review is the largest and most unbiased evaluation in North America, known for its uncompromised facts and truth about true retail banking customer experiences and mobile journey. The differentiation between Surviscor reviews and all other review and ranking firms and individuals who claim to cover the Canadian banking industry is that Surviscor is the only ranking firm that includes both credit unions and neo banks in its public-facing reviews and evaluates all of them alongside the big banks which typically garner all the attention. The reviews are based on facts, and a lot of them, not on subjective, and often firm-sponsored or limited sample size results that are unfortunately all over the internet.

The Surviscor Mobile Banking Experience review was officially introduced in 2015 after a small review in 2013. The review explores a typical mobile device-based investor experience, including both the pre-login and login areas, that evaluates the mobile journey through each individual banking consumer's process and typical banking experience. The analysis primarily uses the available mainstream applications but also looks at a mobilized website experience if a dedicated application does not exist.

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The 2021 Mobile Banking Experience Review audited 24 Canadian financial services firms whose primary business is to offer consumer banking capabilities to its customers or members. The audit took place in July and August 2021 and evaluated each firm by analyzing over 300 individual usage criteria. The criteria are derived using almost 4000 objective questions per firm to establish the best experiences over 5 main categories made up of 23 sub-categories.

The BEST and WORST Firms - By Category

It is evident that there is a trending pattern that emerged when looking at the five best firms and the five worst firms in each category. The top firms tend to be made up of primarily big banks and the ranking order changes by category along with a few credit unions or neo banks mixed in. indicating that each firm has different focus while the bottom firms. On the bottom side of the spectrum, Laurentian Bank, Alterna Bank, Servus Credit Union and HSBC Canada seem to dominate the space.

See the Complete Results

The Best Firms for mobile-based Initial Experience

The Best Firms for mobile-based User Experience

The Best Firms for mobile-based Account Experience

The Best Firms for mobile-based Transactional Experience

The Best Firms for mobile-based Relationship Resources


As the saying goes, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression." Many firms will try to convince you that accessing your banking relationship via a mobile device should be to simply do the 'quick and dirty' functions based on speed and convenience. If that was the case, why have the big banks separated development efforts between mobile and online and why do credit unions launch new platforms separately? The bottom line is that consumers should drive the experience they want to see, not the banking firms.

The Initial Experience category audits the pre-login experience by benchmarking the features and functionalities offered to consumers prior to entering the platform as a customer. Leading firms allow visitors to establish a relationship through mobile-based account opening capabilities, ensure multiple service arrangements are present and educate prospective, and possibly existing, customers with 'free' mobile-based resources.

CIBC - #1

CIBC is one of the few firms who has offered a complete pre-login environment since the platform was introduced with a leading account opening process, complete service interaction capabilities along with a strong navigational design. The platform markets its offering, educates visitors, and allows a seamless experience to becoming a customer



Tangerine, unlike CIBC, does not boast an industry-leading pre-login design but it does know how to guide a user through a clear account opening process. The best story before the login is that tangerine offers customers, and potential customers, educational material along with full disclosure of the overall experience of being a Tangerine customer.

We would ask you to trust us when we tell you that many firms have hugely different philosophies regarding this category but it's easy for you to do your own homework. We all have different needs and that is ok. If you prefer just a login screen to indicate what a firm is all about, great. If you prefer to use your mobile device to learn about a firm, great. Either way the firms who put effort into providing options for all mobile banking consumers should be commended and firms who offer little to know features or functionality should be questioned.


User experience, also referred to as UX, covers a broad range of factors that influence how it feels to use a mobile banking platform. The challenge for financial services firms is balancing customer-driven usage and product needs, maintaining a consistent look and feel between the mobile and online experiences while understanding that each customer shows up having used 100's of different mobile-based applications.

The overall user experience focuses in on four main buckets including the general design including navigation, the availability of user customization features, mobile-based product availability, and security protection features that are especially important to digital users. Sure, different users with identical experiences may see the experience through different coloured lenses but that does not excuse firms who clearly are missing the mark. Those firms are easy to point out.


In general, the industry is severely lacking when it comes to design but when it comes to user experience, TD Canada Trust is the best. TD Canada Trust offers customers an easy-to-understand navigational design that incorporates other areas of TD Canada Trust within the same design while offering easy access to important policies and security information features and functionality. One drawback of the mobile platform is its average customization options.


Tangerine has a weaker design than most firms but has industry leading customization functionality that offers customers the ability to customize the general experience through many account support features that help manage the overall use of the account using a mobile device.

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Account information was the cornerstone of the original digital capabilities offered by financial services firms which allowed consumers the ability to view balances and gain insight into transactions. For leading firms, the functionality, along with the various features that make up the functionality, has grown to the point where there is less reliance on the core online platform which means a full banking experience is almost completely transferred to a mobile-based device. Beware, not all firms are equal.

Today, mobile banking customers should demand excellence in the areas under review, including a fast and efficient additional account opening process, multiple methods of contacting and communicating with the firm, in-depth account information along with analytics, mobile documents, and mobile-based account management tools. They exist so find firms who are committed to the platforms.


TD Canada Trust moved into the top spot with the addition of many mobile-based account services including the ability to finally view and manage electronic documentation. In addition, its depth of mobile-based information surrounding account transactions and general account information while providing customers with the ability to expand into new products or accounts with ease.


Scotiabank is the runner-up for account information experience due to its industry-leading mobile-based account management services and account opening process for existing customers.


Transactional capabilities was a close second to account information when it came to initial mobile-based platforms. The lagging component is the fact it has taken many years to move traditional online transactional capabilities to mobile-based platforms but now the category does not allow a lot of room for differentiation and most firms offer the same transactional capabilities. One could argue that a bill payment is a bill payment, no matter who you bank with. Or transferring money between accounts is the same. Once again, we are here to tell you that those poorly ranked firms are providing fake news. There is a difference, and again its based-on experience and some clearly provide a better experience.

The Transactional Experience category audits all mobile-based money movement capabilities mentioned above as well as reviews other types of transactions not available at all firms including investment, and foreign exchanges transactions, wiring money, the use of mobile wallets, and precious metal transactional experiences. We recommend you evaluate your banking partner's functionality and learn about the other transactional capabilities that exist for you to manage your hard-earned money.


To win this category a firm needs to excel at the whole aspect of a bill payment, money transfer and investing experience. RBC Royal Bank is the leader in Transactional Experience due to its continued improvements to the overall customer experience with an easy-to-use design and great supporting features surrounding the steps and tasks a consumer banker performs around a standard industry functionality.


National Bank takes a back seat to RBC Royal Bank, but its transactional experience is excellent and pinnacles with its Interac Money Movement capabilities. The National Bank drawback is its lack of 'Other Transactions' but the core transactional services are nicely covered for its customers.


Don't feel bad if you don't understand the complete understanding of Relationship Resources because there is an exceptionally good chance that your banking partner does not offer many, or for that matter any, mobile-based relationship resources. The absence of these key relationship items is very confusing. Why would firms feel that mobile-based users would not like the ability to be able to manage their debit or credit cards using their phone or check on mortgages and the possibility of re-applying or doubling-up a payment or two? Or how about being able to manage key account notifications with your phone meaning you miss key low balances or irregular transactions or card usage? The answer is there is no excuse, especially in a digital and new no-contact world.

The good news is that Surviscor is doing your homework for you, sourcing out firms who feel that providing mobile-based account services, account notifications, tools, calculators, and educational resources are essential parts of a banking partnership. Once again, and it is becoming a far too easy recurring excuse, the poorly ranked firms would make you believe that you, the customer, do not want those things on your mobile device. The truth is, the firms typically have such poor mobile designs and strategy that they cannot offer these now mobile banking staples.


Scotiabank has returned to the number one ranking after living there since the inception of mobile-based platforms only to totally remove the features and functionality in 2019 which was very confusing. Whether it was a plan or warranted customer complaints became too much to handle, Scotiabank has returned to the top of the mountain with its industry-leading InfoAlerts and the availability of mobile-based educational material to name a few.

CIBC - #2

CIBC's industry-leading design offers the ability to provide customers with many digital account services via its mobile-based platform, something that many firms either cannot figure out or choose to ignore. The key areas for CIBC is its strong account alerting capabilities and a good level of educational material.


Keep in mind that the depth of the Surviscor reviews means an environment of tough marking and firms being required to earn rankings not be given them by ghost writers or false marketing messages. In addition to being tough, Surviscor will also give credit where credit is due, and you can trust that the money Canadians work hard to make is being considered by identifying the premier digital banking partners who deserve consideration. The hope is that all Canadians hold each bank and credit union accountable to the highest standards of customer experience.

COMPLETE RESULTS - All Firms under Review

Mobile Experience RankBanking FirmExperience ScoreDetailed Company Review
1CIBC89 %Detailed Company Review
2Tangerine86 %Detailed Company Review
3RBC Royal Bank84 %Detailed Company Review
4Scotiabank83 %Detailed Company Review
5TD Canada Trust78 %Detailed Company Review
6Coast Capital Savings74 %Detailed Company Review
7National Bank of Canada72 %Detailed Company Review
8BMO Bank of Montreal70 %Detailed Company Review
T-9Desjardins64 %Detailed Company Review
T-9Meridian Credit Union64 %Detailed Company Review
T-11Simplii Financial62 %Detailed Company Review
T-11Conexus Credit Union62 %Detailed Company Review
13motusbank61 %Detailed Company Review
14Vancity53 %Detailed Company Review
15EQ Bank52 %Detailed Company Review
16ATB Financial51 %Detailed Company Review
17Blueshore Financial47 %Detailed Company Review
T-18Manulife Bank of Canada45 %Detailed Company Review
T-18Alterna Savings45 %Detailed Company Review
20Motive Financial43 %Detailed Company Review
21Alterna Bank37 %Detailed Company Review
T-22Servus Credit Union32 %Detailed Company Review
T-22HSBC Canada32 %Detailed Company Review
24Laurentian Bank of Canada15 %Detailed Company Review

Learn More about Canadian Consumer Banking Digital Experience Rankings

Online Experience Ranking: Canada's Best Online Banking Experiences

Service Experience Rankings: Canadian Digital Banking Service Level Experience Rankings

Surviscor Personalized Validation and Selection Tool scorChoice for Consumer Bankers and Online Investors to find their own #1 firm

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This review is only one of many Surviscor yearly digital experience reviews for Online Self-Directed Brokerage and Consumer Banking firms. Take a look at your current firms, firms you always thought about using, and maybe you'll even find a new firm to consider.