Bank Websites: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly – Pt.1

Bank Websites

By Derek Nicholson

As online and mobile banking methods are increasingly adopted by Canadian consumers, and with the growing number of online-based banks that have surfaced in the past few years, personal finance is becoming more versatile as ever. In fact, more than three quarters (77 per cent) of Canadians are now using online banking. To stay competitive, it’s important for lenders to offer the most user-friendly online service possible.

However, for an online service to be considered user-friendly, anyone visiting the page must be able to easily navigate and find what they want on their own, hassle-free. For banks specifically, it’s important that visitors be able to fluidly and quickly find the information they require. This is achieved when the website provides all the required information regarding the services the bank offers in a straightforward way (it definitely helps if it’s pleasing to the eye, too!).

Why Visit a Bank’s Website?

The main reason most consumers visit their bank’s site is to find information on their own, and to bypass branch visits and the need to speak with tellers. A lender’s website should equip visitors with all the necessary information regarding the services they offer, the daily rates, and hopefully the answers to any pertaining questions one may have regarding their assets.

Mobile apps are free for download from all of Canada’s major banks, and allow for a streamlined version of the website’s essentials for users to browse through on their smartphones. A banking app must be as simple as possible for a user who’s on the go, as they generally won’t want to waste time with a confusing interface when they are mobile.

Does Design Matter?

Today’s consumer demands a visually appealing and smooth user experience, so it’s important for a bank to consider what their website will look like to a potential new client, or to visitors in the market to switch banks. A clunky interface, sloppy navigation, and poor design choices all play a crucial part in the first impression and feeling of trust a bank shopper will have on the institution.

An effective user experience (UX) successfully plays to the user’s feelings and behaviour, using those sentiments to target their product or service. The idea is to change or affirm a positive attitude within the user – and great design and navigation is key. And it needs to be fast – the user must be able to find what they’re looking for on their own conveniently. This applies largely to mobile apps, as they are most effective when responsive, easy to access, and operate. It can be a frustrating experience if not properly optimized or designed.

In the end, having a practical website could be a distinguishing factor from one bank to another, potentially giving a bank a positive edge to stand out!

This post is part 1 of 2 talking about what makes a bank’s website both an effective and enjoyable experience. Next week we’ll look at what YOU want from your bank’s website – and review the best (and the worst) currently on the Canadian market.

Tell us – what do you like (or hate) about YOUR bank’s website? Fill out our quick survey and let us know – we’ll be giving out a $50 gift card to one lucky survey taker!

About the Author: Derek Nicholson

Derek Nicholson, RateSupermarket.ca MoneyWise Author

Derek is in his fourth year of the Bachelor of Public Relations program at Humber College, working as an intern with the marketing team at RateSupermarket.ca over the summer. As his first foray into the world of personal finance, he hopes to expand and further develop his understanding while offering insight from a student’s perspective.

Related Topics

Banking 101 / Personal Finance / Personal Finance News

4 thoughts on “Bank Websites: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly – Pt.1

  1. I hate that scotia charges for keeping our money & that I have to follow up with them if they make a mistake – there was a time when the bank would call – ha ha – long time ago!

  2. Your survey invitation suggests that I can comment on what I like or don’t about my bank’s website, but the survey did NOT allow for comments!

    My only cavil about President’s Choice banking is the restriction that I cannot transfer from my savings account to another account (like checking) on the same day. I see no reason for that, and it is a nuisance.

  3. Royal bank just changed their interface. I was not notified(always went through my action direct account) so it was a shock today to see their new interface.

    Problems are:
    1. Now all of my totals are at the top and completely visible to anybody walking by my desk!
    2. It looks like it is designed for a child or old person who cannot see very well.
    3. I have to scroll about 5 pages down to see all my stuff.
    4. Selecting your account from brings you down to where the account is down the page, then you have to select it again.
    5. I cannot customize it to get rid if crap I don’t want to see on my main page.
    6. The list of transactions is large and clunky and goes across the whole screen and scrolls for pages instead of a nice list on one page.
    7. I called customer service to complain and the idiot person tells me she likes it! I told her I don’t care what she thinks, I am the customer!

    These UI design guys over at RBC are morons!

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