Mobile banking doubles in two years: are smartphones the new bank branches?

Finance apps are outstripping the competition with total worldwide use increasing by 100% since 2014, and Australians doubling their use of financial apps, according to a report from App Annie.

The Asia-Pacific Retail Banking report looked at how mobile banking is changing the way we access our finances, and showed that as early-adopters of fintech platforms, Australia’s use of digital technologies is well-established, and mobile banking apps now outpace online banking.

“Customers are enthusiastically shifting to mobile apps, and many of the industry leaders attracting this audience aren't traditional banks,” the report said.

“From mobile banking, mobile payments, peer-to-peer transfers, personal budgeting and investing, mobile apps offer unparalleled conveniences and create new engagement opportunities for financial services.”

While other markets use “unbundled” apps - where users have a number of standalone apps for different purposes - Aussies favour the all-in-one model, where all core banking services are bundled into one app.

Using apps like this, bank customers can manage their savings and bank accounts, make payments, set spending limits on cards or freeze stolen cards, and even in some cases apply for new products like credit cards or personal loans.

According to the report, the big four ranked in the top positions for best banking apps of 2016, with CommBank coming in at number one.

In the recent Mozo People’s Choice Awards, on the other hand, CommBank was the only big bank to bag an award for excellent banking app. Other Mozo winners included ING Direct, Suncorp and Bendigo Bank - all ranking in the App Annie report’s top ten - as well as American Express.

In fintech apps, Aussies went for digital payment methods first and foremost, with PayPal, Samsung Pay and Android Pay taking out the top three spots. Budgeting apps like Pocketbook, as well as micro-investing platform Acorns and international money transfer specialist WorldRemit also made the top ten.

Want to streamline your banking with some of the top financial apps around? Check out the seven budget and savings apps every Aussie needs.