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

Canada's BEST and WORST Mobile Consumer Banking Experiences

CIBC continues to dominate Mobile-based Consumer Banking Experiences

The Canadian consumer mobile banking landscape in 2023 showcases a dynamic competition amongst Big Banks, Credit Unions, NEO/Branchless banks, and other banks. This intricate industry matrix reveals how these institutions are investing heavily in their digital strategies to woo customers, but the results indicate a large majority if the institutions are not up living up to minimum industry standards in terms of mobile platform products and services despite lures of user-friendly and innovative platforms.

Dominating the digital space is CIBC with its mobile banking platform lauded as the best consumer mobile banking experience in the nation for six out of the past seven years. However, while some banks like TANGERINE have maintained their stronghold in the market, others like BMO BANK of MONTREAL and SERVUS CREDIT UNION have struggled to meet consumer expectations, trailing at the lower end of the rankings.

Surviscor's annual Consumer Mobile Banking Experience review provides a detailed, unbiased analysis of these platforms, priding itself on being the most comprehensive and objective review of its kind in North America. Going beyond mere rankings, it delves into the key aspects of a customer journey, evaluating aspects such as Pre-login Experience, User Experience, and Transactional Experience across various types of financial institutions. The review aims to guide customers in their choice of digital banking services and challenges banks to up their game, ensuring they deliver the best in mobile banking.

Big Banks do not like being compared or mentioned in the same breadth as credit unions, or any other consumer banking solutions, but the reality is that there are two credit unions and two NEO/branchless banks and worth mentioning in the same breadth as the big banks when looking at consumer-based mobile banking experiences.

Glenn LaCoste, President and CEO of Surviscor Group


Review Headlines

CIBC remains the best platform

The word Domination best describes CIBC's mobile banking platform after six of the past seven years as the best consumer mobile banking experience in Canada.

Big Banks finish 8th or better

The big banks continue to flex their muscles capturing six of the available top eight rankings in the 24-firm study.

Two Credit Unions playing with the big boys

COAST CAPITAL SAVINGS (6th overall) and MERIDIAN CREDIT UNION (9th) are aggressively competing in the consumer mobile banking landscape in Canada.

Two NEO/Branchless Banks crack the top 10

One of the first consumer banks to introduce a consumer-facing mobile-based banking platform, TANGERINE (3RD), remains an industry leader despite little changes and MOTUSBANK slips into the top 10 for the first time.

BMO BANK of MONTREAL is the worst of the big banks

BMO BANK of MONTREAL continues to be the worst ranked Big Bank for mobile-based consumer banking, failing, yet again, to gain any ground in the industry standings.

SERVUS CREDIT UNION remains the worst

Canada's 4th largest credit union by asset size continues to disappoint with its continued presence as the worst ranked mobile-based consumer banking experience in Canada.

Hooray for HSBC CANADA's Last Hurrah

HSBC CANADA's last hurrah should be met with resounding hoorays by current customers as they will finally have access to respectable digital platforms with the completion of the RBC ROYAL BANK takeover. There is no doubt the HSBC brand struggled in Canada in terms of digital platforms, with poor digital strategy and delivery across both its consumer banking and online brokerage platforms.


2023 Consumer Mobile Banking Rankings

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 everyday consumer banking needs regardless of the task. So why are there so many firms lagging when it comes to offering complete consumer banking services on handheld devices? The answer is because they choose not to invest in what is best for the consumer through the distorted eyes of so-called User Experience expertise rather, they try and convince the consumers, and themselves, that the extras are not in the consumer's best interests.

Mobile Platform Experience RankMobile Banking FirmExperience ScoreFull Company Review
1CIBC87 %View Company Review
2Scotiabank81 %View Company Review
T-3Tangerine80 %View Company Review
T-3RBC Royal Bank80 %View Company Review
5TD Canada Trust79 %View Company Review
6Coast Capital Savings77 %View Company Review
7National Bank of Canada76 %View Company Review
T-8BMO Bank of Montreal71 %View Company Review
T-8Meridian Credit Union71 %View Company Review
10motusbank67 %View Company Review
T-11Desjardins62 %View Company Review
T-11Simplii Financial62 %View Company Review
13Conexus Credit Union60 %View Company Review
14ATB Financial59 %View Company Review
15Alterna Savings54 %View Company Review
16Vancity52 %View Company Review
17EQ Bank50 %View Company Review
18Alterna Bank49 %View Company Review
19Blueshore Financial47 %View Company Review
20Manulife Bank of Canada45 %View Company Review
21Motive Financial45 %View Company Review
22HSBC Canada36 %View Company Review
23Laurentian Bank35 %View Company Review
24Servus Credit Union49 %View Company Review

The discrepancy between marketing claims and actual mobile banking offerings can be misleading and lead to inflated consumer expectations, especially when firms use marketing for both expansion and retention of customers. Our critical and non-bias evaluation of digital platforms helps identify the gap between perceived quality and the actual consumer banking capabilities provided by the platforms.

Glenn LaCoste, President and CEO of Surviscor Group


KEY FINDINGS

The 2023 Consumer Mobile Banking Experience review produced some interesting findings. Here is a quick look at the key points of discussion:

  • CIBC repeats as top firm
  • 6 Firms improved ranking positions from 2022
  • ALTERNA SAVINGS improved 4 positions from 2022
  • COAST CAPITAL SAVINGS is the top ranked credit union

  • BMO BANK of MONTREAL fails to impress - yet again
  • CONEXUS CREDIT UNION's new platform resulted in a 3-position fall in the rankings
  • VANCITY's apparent new platform did nothing to improve customer experience
  • EQ BANK is an average mobile-based platform at best

See the Best and Worst Firms by Category

See What Makes Surviscor Different

Go to Results by Firm Type

Go to Lessons Learned

Go to The Bottom Line


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The BEST and WORST Firms - By Category

Surviscor prides itself on its tough marking and its depth of information analysis, meaning firms must earn every grade and ranking it receives, good and bad. The Surviscor Canadian Mobile Banking Experience Review audits 24 Canadian digital banking firms including the big 6 banks, 7 leading credit unions, 6 popular neo (branchless) banks, and 5 other firms that identify as a bank or a co-operative movement. In each case, each firm offers a banking platform designed to be used on a phone and is evaluated over 5 experience categories, using over 300 individual usage criteria and based on 2500-plus objective questions per firm.

In Surviscor reviews, firms cannot sway the outcome nor dictate if they are reviewed or not. Furthermore, the award distinctions are not given by sponsored ghost writers or false marketing pieces and messages, something many consumer banking firms use pay-to-play reviews to gain exposure. Surviscor gives credit where credit is due and believes each review should highlight many firms, not less firms. The hope is that all Canadian consumers hold their banking partner accountable in each area of mobile banking experiences. The following tables provide a quick look at the best and worst firms in each Surviscor experience category:


PRE-LOGIN EXPERIENCE

The category audits the services available through the pre-login mobile platform, available to both existing and prospective mobile banking customers.

Industry RankBEST PlatformsIndustry RankWORST Platforms
1CIBC24MANULIFE BANK
2TANGERINE23ATB FINANCIAL
3MOTUSBANK22HSBC CANADA

USER EXPERIENCE

The category explores the usability factors for the mobile-based banking customer once logged in, including measures that impact choice, convenience, and level of control.

Industry RankBEST PlatformsIndustry RankWORST Platforms
1TD CANADA TRUST24SERVUS CREDIT UNION
2TANGERINE23HSBC CANADA
3SCOTIABANK22ALTERNA BANK

ACCOUNT INFORMATION EXPERIENCE

The category audits the non-transaction related mobile-based account information aimed at monitoring a banking account or assisting in the decision-making process.


TRANSACTIONAL EXPERIENCE

The category explores the various mobile-based money movement and payment screens along with the supporting process and features around the complete mobile transactional experience.

Industry RankBEST PlatformsIndustry RankWORST Platforms
1RBC ROYAL BANK24HSBC CANADA
2NATIONAL BANK of CANADA23LAURENTIAN BANK
3SCOTIABANK22SERVUS CREDIT UNION

MOBILE RESOURCES

The category audits the availability of mobile-based account management resources and the level of supporting educational content and features.

Industry RankBEST PlatformsIndustry RankWORST Platforms
1SCOTIABANK24SERVUS CREDIT UNION
2MERIDIAN CREDIT UNION23LAURENTIAN BANK
3CIBC22MANULIFE BANK

Why Surviscor Reviews Are Different

The Surviscor Experience Reviews are the largest and most unbiased evaluations in North America, known for uncompromised facts and truth, about true customer experiences and digital journeys. The differentiation between Surviscor reviews, other review and ranking firms, and individuals who claim to cover the Canadian consumer banking and online brokerage industries, is that Surviscor 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.


Question your status-quo, explore alternative relationships and beware the marketing messages that typically are based on such minor, and usually insignificant, differentiators.

Glenn LaCoste, President and CEO of Surviscor Group


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


Mobile Banking Experience Rankings - By Firm Type

The Canadian mobile-based consumer banking landscape offers Canadian consumers an abundance of choice outside of the popular, and traditional, big banks. Consumers can choose from regional-based credit unions or co-operatives, neo or branchless virtual banks, or a variety of other firms registered to provide digital-based consumer banking. Whatever your preference, here's a look at the best and worst firms in each segment:


BIG BANKS - MOBILE RANKINGS

Industry RankingMobile Banking FirmExperience ScoreLikes & Dislikes
1CIBC87 %View Company Review
2Scotiabank81 %View Company Review
T-3RBC Royal Bank80 %View Company Review
5TD Canada Trust79 %View Company Review
7National Bank of Canada76 %View Company Review
T-8BMO Bank of Montreal71 %View Company Review

In 2023, the major Canadian banks have once again demonstrated their strength by securing positions in the top 8 of the overall rankings. This underscores the continued dominance of digital platforms in favor of these big banks. Notably, CIBC stands out as a frontrunner in this trend, consistently outpacing its peers in enhancing its mobile-based platforms year after year. This relentless commitment to innovation has solidified CIBC's position as a dominant player in the banking industry.

While CIBC continues to lead the pack, SCOTIABANK maintains a slight advantage over RBC ROYAL BANK, albeit trailing behind CIBC significantly. Meanwhile, NATIONAL BANK may not be among the top big banks but still maintains a strong position, far ahead of the last-place big bank, BMO BANK of MONTREAL.


CREDIT UNIONS - MOBILE RANKINGS

Industry RankingMobile Banking FirmExperience ScoreLikes & Dislikes
6Coast Capital Savings77 %View Company Review
T-8Meridian Credit Union71 %View Company Review
13Conexus Credit Union60 %View Company Review
15Alterna Savings54 %View Company Review
16Vancity52 %View Company Review
19Blueshore Financial47 %View Company Review
24Servus Credit Union49 %View Company Review
Co-Operative FirmMobile Banking Firm
T-11Desjardins62 %View Company Review

COAST CAPITAL SAVINGS, a British Columbia-based credit union, has once again secured the top position for the best mobile-based consumer banking experience amongst Canadian credit unions. This consistent performance highlights their commitment to providing an exceptional mobile banking service to their customers.

MERIDIAN CREDIT UNION, based in Ontario, has achieved a significant milestone by breaking into the top 10 overall rankings for the first time, claiming the 8th place position. This marks a notable improvement from their 2022 ranking. ALTERNA SAVINGS, another Ontario-based credit union, has shown remarkable progress by gaining four positions, securing the 15th place overall ranking in 2023.

It should be noted that DESJARDINS, the Quebec-based co-operative firm, is widely regarded as a credit union and has fallen out of the top 10 in 2023. In actuality, DESJARDINS is a credit union outside of the province of Quebec, but the review focused on the Quebec-based mobile banking platform.

Two of the credit unions launched new mobile-based platforms in 2023 but as is the typical case when mainstream credit unions follow executive-level decisions, the new platforms fail to make any impact. CONEXUS CREDIT UNION, a Saskatchewan-based credit union that use to compete with the big firms, experienced a slight setback, slipping three positions to 13th place in the 2023 rankings. The other firm, VANCITY, the largest Canadian credit union based in British Columbia, fell outside the top 15 after its so-called new mobile platform which appears to have fallen short of expectations and honestly, looks like its former version with a new login experience.

BLUESHORE FINANCIAL, also based in British Columbia, secured the 19th position in the overall rankings. Meanwhile, SERVUS CREDIT UNION, the fourth-largest credit union in Canada, based in Alberta, finds itself in last place among Canadian consumer mobile banking firms.

These rankings reflect the diverse performance of credit unions in Canada's mobile banking landscape in 2023, with notable winners and some falling short of expectations.


NEO-BRANCHLESS BANKS - MOBILE RANKINGS

Industry RankingMobile Banking FirmExperience ScoreLikes & Dislikes
T-3Tangerine80 %View Company Review
10motusbank67 %View Company Review
T-11Simplii Financial62 %View Company Review
17EQ Bank50 %View Company Review
18Alterna Bank49 %View Company Review
21Motive Financial45 %View Company Review

In the landscape of NEO/Branchless banks in 2023, it's important to note that except for EQ BANK, each of these banks is owned by one of the other consumer banking firms in the review, positioning them as discount or scaled-back offerings.

TANGERINE, an early adopter of digital services formerly known as ING Direct and now owned by SCOTIABANK, continues to shine among its NEO/Branchless counterparts. It outperforms them by a significant margin, scoring 13 points higher and enjoys a 7-position advantage over its closest competitor, MOTUSBANK, which is owned by MERIDIAN CREDIT UNION. TANGERINE consistently maintains its position in the top 3 of the overall rankings.

MOTUSBANK, and ALTERNA BANK which is owned by Alterna Savings, are notable climbers in this group, both moving up by 3 positions in the 2023 rankings. MOTUSBANK achieved its first-ever top 10 ranking, showcasing impressive growth in its mobile banking offering. However, ALTERNA BANK, while breaking into the top 20, still lags behind in providing one of the weaker mobile banking experiences in Canada.

SIMPLII FINANCIAL, which is owned by CIBC, maintained its 12th place ranking while MOTIVE FINANCIAL, who is owned by CANADIAN WESTERN BANK, unfortunately continues to provide the least favourable mobile banking experience among NEO/Branchless banks. Lastly, EQ BANK, despite its extensive marketing efforts, finds itself ranked 17th.


OTHER BANKS - MOBILE RANKINGS

Industry RankingMobile Banking FirmExperience ScoreLikes & Dislikes
14ATB Financial59 %View Company Review
20Manulife Bank of Canada45 %View Company Review
22HSBC Canada36 %View Company Review
23Laurentian Bank35 %View Company Review

The Other Banks category does not, and rarely does, fare well, with three out of the four firms ranking 20th or worse out of the 24 firms reviewed. MANULIFE BANK of CANADA slipped two positions to 20th overall, signaling a decline in their mobile banking offering. HSBC CANADA, on the other hand, managed to improve slightly, rising one position to 22nd. LAURENTIAN BANK fell one position to 23rd, further emphasizing their challenges in the digital banking space.

Customers of these three bottom-ranking firms should indeed question their relationships with these banks, as each of them falls short in providing respectable mobile banking platforms. However, ATB FINANCIAL, the government-owned bank in Alberta, stands out as an exception. It secures the 14th position overall, which is relatively higher compared to its peers. This performance should prompt Albertans to consider why their government-owned bank fails to rank higher in terms of mobile banking experiences year after year, and why it consistently struggles to compete in the broader Canadian digital consumer banking landscape.


Go back to the 2023 Mobile Banking Experience Rankings


Lessons Learned

There are always general industry lessons to be learned, especially when 24 individual mobile banking platforms are scrutinized to the extent that these platforms have been in 2023. These are some of the high-level lessons of note:

Enhancements does not Mean Better

Have you ever looked at the version history on a platform's App Store page? One would think that all these firms are hard at work with weekly and monthly changes all portrayed as changes to make your mobile banking experience the best it can be. Is it then unreasonable to think that the multitude of changes should lead to better individual results in a comprehensive mobile banking experience review? We think so but even in 2023, 15 firms shifted ranking positions but only six managed to improve in the global rankings.

New platforms continue to disappoint - Vancity is the latest victim

Each year, its great to hear that consumer banking firms are going to introduce new digital platforms; however, when the long-awaited release does not significantly move the experience meter, the result is disappointing. Vancity, Canada's largest credit union by assets and based in British Columbia, is the most recent example. How is it that the largest credit union in Canada puts out a new mobile banking platform that basically mirrors the former platform that had little to no changes since its original launch? The embarrassing fact is that a new login screen and some cleaner fonts should send a loud message to its members after its long-awaited platform launch and its 17th place ranking.

Easy Doesn't Mean Better

Today's universities are producing a record number of marketing graduates of which many claim to specialize in Customer Experience, otherwise known as CX. The issue is that these so-called influencers are convincing senior executives that reducing the amount of functionality provided through mobile platforms, along with key supporting features that enhance digital experiences, is the way to go forward. The end result is, and quite funny one, the focus is then on convincing customers that giving them less will make the overall experience better. We highly disagree.

Good Luck Navigating the Platform Mazes

The same so-called CX experts are the same individuals who are responsible for making us shake our heads during testing. Imagine, we perform testing for a living and review dozens of digital platforms over and over so when we have to ask ourselves questions about where we are and why did my browser open and then am I on a browser only to ask why does this look different and finally do I need to login again?. Confused? Don't be lol. These mazes were designed by experts and signed off by senior executives.

Don't Confuse NEO with Fintech

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 best definition really means branchless firms with either full or partial traditional banking services offered through digital platforms. In many cases, the goal is 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.

Don't Rely on App Store Ratings

You would be shocked by the number of banking brain trusts that gauge development success by the platform ratings on both the App Store and Google Play platforms. While app stores serve as the vehicle to download the desired mobile banking application, it's essential to exercise caution when relying solely on user reviews when determining which banking firm to trust. It's not that these reviews are necessarily fabricated, but can be manipulated; instead, they often emphasize superficial usability factors rather than the comprehensive features and functionality of the app.


The question that begs some answers is why are there so many firms lagging when it comes to offering complete consumer banking services on handheld devices? The honest answer is that the firms choose not to invest in what the consumer needs instead of building robust navigational designs that delivery ease of use along with critical banking features and functionality.

Glenn LaCoste, President and CEO of Surviscor Group


Go back to the 2023 Mobile Banking Experience Rankings


The Bottom Line

The truth is that many firms are approaching your satisfaction with the wrong approach, and it starts with new teachings that younger Canadians want simple and easy, but it simply doesn't translate when it comes to the complexity of financial services. A mindset to provide less, and market more, not only limits the potential and functionality of mobile banking capabilities but also undermines consumer choice and empowerment.

Users have grown accustomed to a digital world that evolves to suit their needs, constantly adapting to provide richer experiences. The expectation is no less in the world of consumer banking, where the very essence of service revolves around facilitating users in their financial goals and day-to-day transactional needs. By opting to restrict features or making claims about what's in the best interest of the consumer, the so-called experts not only miss the opportunity to stay competitive but also risk alienating a tech-savvy user base that demands and deserves a seamless and comprehensive mobile banking experience without loss to the products and services it serves.


The Surviscor DISCLAIMER

Surviscor takes the ultimate pride in recognizing, and calling out, any firm for both good, and poor, experiences. Canadians work hard for their money and having a compatible consumer banking financial partner is necessary and Canadian consumers should be holding all firms, big and small, to the highest standards of customer experience and cost of services. The consumer holds the cards, not the consumer banking firm, and there are the posted rates, promotional rates, and even special rates usually meant for new customers or new products. #FindTheRightFirm

Explore other Surviscor Rankings

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.