Surviscor Canadian Consumer Banking Experience Reviews - Canada’s BEST and WORST Online Banking Experiences

The BEST and WORST Canadian Online Consumer Banking Experiences

RBC ROYAL BANK continues to dominate desktop-based Consumer Online Banking Experiences

Electronic Desktop-based Online consumer banking solutions were introduced shortly after the inception of the internet and are typically the core platforms that drive most of the digital consumer banking solutions used by Canadians. One would think that based on the history of the platforms and the important role they play in the larger digital strategy that there would be less below-average solutions in a landscape filled with traditional brick and mortar bank branches and credit unions and complimented with discounted neo/virtual non-branch bank offerings. While all the firms serve the basic consumer banking needs, Canadians question the status quo and demand better experiences as there are a lot of options to consider.

The results show a clear demarcation between the best and worst platforms in each of the five categories, with RBC ROYAL BANK frequently appearing at the top, and LAURENTIAN BANK often at the bottom. In general, the big banks continue to dominate the online banking experience rankings followed by a few credit unions. MERIDIAN CREDIT UNION is recognized as the top credit union and SCOTIABANK ranks as the worst among traditional big banks. Despite the success of TANGERINE and MOTUSBANK, NEO/Branchless banks generally offer below-average desktop-based platform experiences despite marketing efforts that state the contrary.

Surviscor's annual Consumer Online Banking Experience review provides a detailed, unbiased analysis of desktop-based consumer banking 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 non-phone 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 digital banking platforms.

Even though many firms offer of the same banking accounts, products and transactional services, the study confirms that not all firms are created equally. The process of paying a bill or sending money is not the same at each firm and the sad reality is that too many Canadian digital banking consumers are faced with below average digital banking experiences.

Glenn LaCoste, President and CEO of Surviscor Group


Review Headlines

RBC ROYAL BANK remains the best platform

Over the past decade, few firms have been able to compete versus RBC ROYAL BANK's desktop, non-phone-based banking platform. While they are not the best in every sub-category experience, they dominate each major user experience category.

Big Banks dominate

The big banks continue to dominate the traditional desktop-based platforms, capturing six of the available top seven rankings in the 25-firm study.

Two Credit Unions playing with the big boys

MERIDIAN CREDIT UNION (8th overall) and COAST CAPITAL SAVINGS (9th) sit well outside of the top 5 but a close comparison to NATIONAL BANK and SCOTIABANK.

Two NEO/Branchless Banks crack the top 10

TANGERINE and MOTUSBANK share the 10th ranking which is not surprising as they excel over the other firms in each digital banking review.

LAURENTIAN BANK remains the worst

Despite much needed changes to its digital platforms in the past few years, the decision to follow a less than spectacular lower-level credit union model results in the worst ranked desktop-based online consumer banking experience in Canada.

Hooray for HSBC CANADA's Last Hurrah

As mentioned recently when discussing mobile banking platforms, 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 Online 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 eyeys 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
1RBC Royal Bank91 %View Company Review
2CIBC82 %View Company Review
3BMO Bank of Montreal77 %View Company Review
T-4Desjardins76 %View Company Review
T-4TD Canada Trust76 %View Company Review
T-6National Bank of Canada71 %View Company Review
T-6Scotiabank71 %View Company Review
8Meridian Credit Union70 %View Company Review
9Coast Capital Savings69 %View Company Review
T-10Tangerine65 %View Company Review
T-10motusbank66 %View Company Review
12Conexus Credit Union64 %View Company Review
T-13Simplii Financial60 %View Company Review
T-13ATB Financial60 %View Company Review
T-13Alterna Savings60 %View Company Review
16HSBC Canada58 %View Company Review
17Blueshore Financial55 %View Company Review
18Vancity53 %View Company Review
19Servus Credit Union52 %View Company Review
20Motive Financial51 %View Company Review
21Alterna Bank49 %View Company Review
22PC Financial44 %View Company Review
23EQ Bank41 %View Company Review
24Manulife Bank of Canada38 %View Company Review
25Laurentian Bank36 %View Company Review

Online, or desktop-based platform reviews, tend to produce similar rankings from year to year as firms tend to focus on mobile-based platforms. The irony is that most mobile-based platforms are designed around the base banking systems that exist through the online desktop-based platforms which means that a firm's commitment to its digital strategy can be seen through the traditional online results. 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:

  • RBC ROYAL BANK repeats as top firm
  • 4 Firms improved ranking positions from 2022
  • SIMPLII FINANCIAL improved 4 positions from 2022
  • MERIDIAN CREDIT UNION is the top ranked credit union

  • SCOTIABANK is the worst ranked traditional Big Bank
  • CONEXUS CREDIT UNION's new platform didn't move the needle
  • VANCITY's apparent new platform did nothing to improve customer experience
  • NEO/BRANCHLESS BANKS tend to offer below-average desktop-based platform experiences

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


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


The BEST and WORST Firms - By Category

Surviscor prides itself on its tough marking and its depth of information analysis which translates to each firm earning every grade and ranking it receives, good or bad. The Surviscor Canadian Online Banking Experience Review audits 25 Canadian digital banking firms including the big 6 banks, 7 leading credit unions, 7 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 non-phone, desktop, or tablet, 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 its digital banking experiences. The following tables provide a quick look at the best and worst firms in each Surviscor Online Banking experience category:


PRE-LOGIN EXPERIENCE

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

Industry RankBEST PlatformsIndustry RankWORST Platforms
1RBC ROYAL BANK25LAURENTIAN BANK
2TD CANADA TRUST24MANULIFE BANK
3BMO BANK OF MONTREAL23EQ BANK

USER EXPERIENCE

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

Industry RankBEST PlatformsIndustry RankWORST Platforms
1RBC ROYAL BANK25MANULIFE BANK
2TD CANADA TRUST24LAURENTIAN BANK
3ALTERNA SAVINGS23EQ BANK

ACCOUNT INFORMATION EXPERIENCE

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

Industry RankBEST PlatformsIndustry RankWORST Platforms
1RBC ROYAL BANK25LAURENTIAN BANK
2CIBC24EQ BANK
3BMO BANK OF MONTREAL23MANULIFE BANK

TRANSACTIONAL EXPERIENCE

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

Industry RankBEST PlatformsIndustry RankWORST Platforms
1RBC ROYAL BANK25MANULIFE BANK
2BMO BANK OF MONTREAL24PC FINANCIAL
3CIBC23BLUESHORE FINANCIAL

RELATIONSHIP RESOURCES

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

Industry RankBEST PlatformsIndustry RankWORST Platforms
1RBC ROYAL BANK25LAURENTIAN BANK
2CIBC24EQ BANK
3DESJARDINS23MOTIVE FINANCIAL

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 limited sample size results that are unfortunately all over the internet.


Firm-based marketing statements, and messages, often clash with our results, and oftentimes tell a completely opposite story. Don't be swayed or fooled. Always question the award branding for its authentication as we can back our depth of review, something many others can't claim. The lesson is to question your status-quo and explore alternative relationships and look carefully at the marketing messages that typically are based on 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


Desktop-based Online Banking Experience Rankings - By Firm Type

The Canadian desktop-based consumer online 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 - ONLINE RANKINGS

Industry RankingMobile Banking FirmExperience ScoreLikes & Dislikes
1RBC Royal Bank91 %View Company Review
2CIBC82 %View Company Review
3BMO Bank of Montreal77 %View Company Review
T-4TD Canada Trust76 %View Company Review
T-6National Bank of Canada71 %View Company Review
T-6Scotiabank71 %View Company Review

It is not surprising that the big banks dominate the desktop-based online banking experiences as the historic timeline of digital banking capabilities began with these platforms. The big banks were early adopters and outside of a few outlying independent banking firms, they continue to drive the desktop-based experience features based on common functionality across industry firms.

RBC ROYAL BANK continues to dominate the rankings with top marks in each category. The differentiation amongst the big banks becomes clearer as one digs deeper into individual sub-categories, where the firms start to jockey in excellence. CIBC, the 2023 Mobile Banking Platform top firm, comfortably ranks 2nd by itself indicating its commitment to digital services. Of note is SCOTIABANK. Its last place ranking amongst the big banks after decades of being one of the innovators is concerning and indicates its lack of commitment to its digital platforms.


CREDIT UNIONS - ONLINE RANKINGS

Industry RankingMobile Banking FirmExperience ScoreLikes & Dislikes
8Meridian Credit Union70 %View Company Review
9Coast Capital Savings69 %View Company Review
12Conexus Credit Union64 %View Company Review
T-13Alterna Savings60 %View Company Review
17Blueshore Financial55 %View Company Review
18Vancity53 %View Company Review
19Servus Credit Union52 %View Company Review
Co-Operative FirmOnline Banking Firm
T-4Desjardins76 %View Company Review

These rankings reflect the diverse performance of credit unions in Canada's desktop-based online banking landscape in 2023, with notable winners and some falling short of expectations. The clear leaders are Ontario-based MERIDIAN CREDIT UNION and British Columbia-based COAST CAPITAL SAVINGS. The consistent performance highlights commitment to providing exceptional desktop-based, and mobile banking experienced to their customers.

It should be noted that DESJARDINS, the Quebec-based co-operative firm, is widely regarded as a credit union and competes directly with the big banks due to its strong transactional and account experiences. In actuality, DESJARDINS is a credit union outside of the province of Quebec, but this review focused on the Quebec-based desktop-based online banking platform.

CONEXUS CREDIT UNION, a Saskatchewan-based credit union, and VANCITY, Canada's largest Canadian credit union by assets under administration based in British Columbia, both launched new desktop/online platforms in 2023 but as is typical the case when mainstream credit unions make executive-driven changes, the changes typically fail to make any impact. In both cases, the so-called new desktop-based platforms appear to have fallen short of new design expectations.

SERVUS CREDIT UNION, the fourth-largest credit union in Canada, based in Alberta, finds itself in last place among Canadian consumer desktop-based online banking firms.


NEO-BRANCHLESS BANKS - ONLINE RANKINGS

Industry RankingMobile Banking FirmExperience ScoreLikes & Dislikes
T-10Tangerine65 %View Company Review
T-10motusbank65 %View Company Review
T-13Simplii Financial60 %View Company Review
20Motive Financial51 %View Company Review
21Alterna Bank48 %View Company Review
22PC Financial44 %View Company Review
23EQ Bank41 %View Company Review

NEO/Branchless banks are not a new concept, but the reality is that today they typically less effort into desktop-based online banking platforms versus mobile-based platforms. Outside of EQ BANK and PC FINANCIAL, 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.

The two premier offerings are TANGERINE, the early adopter of digital services formerly known as ING Direct and now owned by SCOTIABANK, and MOTUSBANK, which is owned by MERIDIAN CREDIT UNION. Another respectable offering is SIMPLII FINANCIAL, a CIBC firm that was spun off the PC FINACIAL offering when CIBC but ties with Loblaws.

EQ BANK, despite its extensive marketing efforts and top firm claims, continues to provide the least favourable desktop-based online banking experience among NEO/Branchless banks.


OTHER BANKS - ONLINE RANKINGS

Industry RankingMobile Banking FirmExperience ScoreLikes & Dislikes
T-13ATB Financial60 %View Company Review
16HSBC Canada58 %View Company Review
24Manulife Bank of Canada38 %View Company Review
25Laurentian Bank36 %View Company Review

ATB FINANCIAL, the government-owned bank in Alberta, is the leader amongst Other Banks but its 13th place finish should prompt Albertans to consider why their government-owned bank fails to rank higher in terms of desktop-based online experiences year after year, and why it consistently struggles to compete in the broader Canadian digital consumer banking landscape.

The bottom line is customers of MANULIFE BANK of CANADA and LAURENTIAN BANK should indeed question their relationships with these banks, as both fail to compete amongst Canadian digital banking firms. The good news for HSBC CANADA customers is that they will soon move over to RBC ROYAL BANK and end years of below-average digital banking capabilities.


Go back to the 2023 Desktop-based Online Banking Experience Rankings


Lessons Learned

There are always general industry lessons to be learned, especially when 25 individual desktop-based online banking platforms are scrutinized to the extent that these platforms have been in 2023. These are some of the high-level lessons of note:

NEO does not mean Fintech

It is always worth repeating that the definition of neo banks tends to be 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. Just because a scaled-down firm wants to enter the marketplace as a Fintech doesn't mean that you should view the firm as cutting-edge and technologically advanced.

Differentiation is in the Weeds

Low ranking firms would like everyone to believe that a bill payment is a bill payment, and that if they do what a top firm does, it should be considered the same. The truth is the top firms provide standard functionality with enhanced features while low-ranking firms provide basic functionality with little to no extra features. An examination of the low-lying features and the associated characteristics allow the rankings to differentiate between excellent and poor experiences.

Designs are Improving - Not Experience

Experience should be measured by both objective and subjective qualities. Maybe you like companies that use the colour blue? Maybe you like videos instead of words? While the designs are getting better for firms that have offered platforms for over the past two decades, past features are being removed to simplify activities or have been poorly translated into the newer designs resulting in a worst overall experience.

A New Platform doesn't Mean a Better Experience

The expression of the proof is in the pudding may best explain the disjoint here. The experience value or experience quality must be determined by using the platform and based on the results of that usage. The true experience can not be determined by simply looking at the design. As firms catch-up to the newer designs the reality is that the long-awaited release rarely moves the experience meter, a disappointing reality. The most recent examples revolve around the credit unions VANCITY and CONEXUS CREDIT UNION whose new platforms did not help improve either of its industry standing.

Verification Security is here to Stay

You would be hard-pressed to find many password-guarded digital experiences today that don't include a base level of 2-step verification to confirm one's identity. The functionality is now mainstream within digital banking but is being used as a basic feature and not supported by expanded features that could enhance the experience.

Virtual Assistance is Here to Stay

In general, there hasn't been much change to desktop-based online banking functionality over the past few years except for customer service relationship changes that were needed during the recent COVID pandemic which highlighted virtual service options. The newest customer service expansion that is slowly being introduced in digital platforms is the ability to correspond with a virtual assistant, a version of robo-chat or better yet, a more sophisticated interactive FAQ. Whatever you want to call it, the days of exceptional customer service appear to be over. Good luck with this poorly designed idea/concept.

Don't Ruin Online with Mobile Philosophy

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 digital platforms, along with key supporting features that enhance digital experiences, is the way to go forward. If you like using your desktop or tablet for your banking, you better hope senior executives are not rubber-stamping the prominent less is more ideas.


It is hard to predict the future of desktop-based financial services platforms but what is easy to see is that so many firms are lagging when it comes to offering desktop-based consumer banking services. The designs may, and should be, changing yearly but too many firms are simply riding the wave hoping current customers will ride along with them. There's no better time than the present to demand more for your money.

Glenn LaCoste, President and CEO of Surviscor Group


Go back to the 2023 Desktop-based Online Banking Experience Rankings


The Bottom Line

We have all heard of the saying that no two things are created equal and the 2023 edition of the annual Surviscor Canadian Online Consumer Banking rankings demonstrates the validity of the saying. At first glance, a bill payment is a bill payment. The truth is, there are many differences between key transactional capabilities between firms and Canadians should take notice. Not every bill payment or Interac money movement experience is the same.

The best firms consider each consumer banking process from end to end and maximize the overall experience with supporting features to enhance the functionality and payment journey. The sad reality is that a good portion of Canadian firms provide very basic functionality which downgrades the overall online banking usage experiences.


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.