Ideal vs. Customary
Syed Zillur Rehman
Table of Contents
II. Ideal Bank Website……..................................................................2
III. Evaluation Method...........................................................................8
IV. Bank Analysis..................................................................................9
Bank Website Ratings ………………..…………………………
The banking industry operates in a consistently evolving market environment. To
remain competitive, banks attempt to improve process efficiencies and transform
products/ services to meet customers’ needs. Technological innovation has always been
at the root of these initiatives. The development of the internet and rapid advancements
in communication tools has permitted banks to establish several banking channels for
consumer customers; in particular Automated Teller Machines (ATM), banking over the
internet or online banking, and mobile banking from a phone or PDA. The focus of this
analysis is to determine to what degree banks have utilized the internet in the personal
consumer banking sector to provide services for current and potential bank customers.
The structure of the analysis compares a project team defined theoretically ideal
banking website against already established functioning banking sites. Thirty banks with
an internet presence have been selected for comparison. Each bank will be awarded a
numerical score based on how well it matches the theoretical site. Subsequently, the
banks will be ranked from most to least ideal. Additionally, a qualitative synopsis is
provided discussing the strengths and weaknesses of each website reviewed. Key
findings and an assessment of the studies results conclude the project.
II. Ideal Bank Website
The ideal banking website as defined by the project team contains five critical
elements; (1) Security, (2) Convenience/Usability, (3) Online Functionality, (4) Account
Services, and (5) Availability of Information. Each element selected is considered to be a
determining factor for current and potential banking customers, and influential in their
decision to stay with or become a member of the bank. Critical elements are further
broken down into measurable attributes that can be scored either present or absent. The
collective presence of all the attributes on an individual banking website is considered by
the project team to be ideal. The following section defines the characteristics of each
individual element’s attributes.
• Website Security link on main page: Clearly marked hyperlink to website’s
security information on the sites home page.
• Extra security prompt: The use of additional security measures to prevent identity
theft, (security icons, email conformations, access questions).
• Public Access: Different security treatment of public computers used to assess the
• Encryption: Site requires data encryption (128 bit or better).
• Session Timeout: Site automatically logs out inactive banking session.
• Online Fraud Policy: Clearly defined banking fraud policy.
• Transfer/Bill Payment Policy: Bank’s online banking policy is clearly defined
and trouble resolution guidelines are provided.
• Online Claims: Ability to open and file trouble tickets / disputes online.
• Login cookie: User option to display user id on return from home PC.
• Date/Time of last login: Site provides previous account login information.
• Alerts & Reminders: The bank proactively alerts individual customers of security
issues or possible account threats.
• Password policy: The bank sets password requirements that prevent easily
hacked user ID/Passwords.
• General Security Warnings: The bank sends out security warnings to customers
alerting customers to potential security threats (phishers or examples of spoof
• ID/Password Retrieval Online: Users are available to find or reset login
information via the internet.
2. Convenience / Ease of Use
• View Account Balance: Ability to quickly and easily view up to date account
• Pending Transaction: View current balance that takes into consideration any bill
payments/transfers that have been set up for a future date.
• ATM/Branch Link: Main page has links to ATM/branch.
• Instant ATM search: Least number of mouse clicks to retrieve ATM/branch
• ATM Location’s Map: Display all nearest locations on a map.
• Directions to ATM: Driving directions link readily available.
• ATM/Branch Detail: Location information with details such as address,
telephone number, and hours of operation.
• Services at ATM/Branch: List different types of services next to the branch.
• Online application: Apply for different types of accounts online.
• Instructions for online application: Clear instructions with pre-requisites and
approximate time needed to apply online.
• Internal Account Aggregation: Link and view different types of internal accounts
such as credit card, saving, brokerage, checking account on a same screen.
• External Account Aggregation: Link and view different accounts at other banks
on a single page.
• Search field: Ability to search different topics from the main page.
• Site Map link: Availability of site map for easy navigation.
• Effective Website Design: Good layout and easy to browse with content in clear
and non-cluttered format.
• Minimum advertisement: Fewer product promotions and no pop-ups.
3. Account Services
• Online customer service: 24/7 customer service that allows users to resolve
• Service specific contact information: Availability of service specific contact
information such as telephone & fax numbers, addresses, etc.
• Online chat: Ability to chat with a live person in answering questions or
• Email: Ability to send, receive, and read messages via email.
• Online bill payment: Make payments to virtually anyone in the country at
• Prior payments: View prior payments that have been processed and posted to
your account using bill payment or transfer features.
• Recurring and future payments: Ability to set up recurring payments for ongoing
bills (like cable), so you don’t have to remember each time they are due and set
up payments that are due in the future.
• Money transfer – internal accounts: Transfer money between different accounts
within a bank. (For example, from checking to savings and vice versa).
• Money transfer – external accounts: Transfer money to accounts that are in other
domestic financial institutions.
• Money transfer – international accounts: Send money to international bank
• Transfer funds to non-personal accounts: Transfer/wire money to the accounts of
• Budgeting/spending summary: View transactions/expenditures by payee or
categories (such as travel, utilities, loans, groceries, etc.) to see how and where
you spent your money and be able to use it as a budgeting tool.
• Integration with financial software: Integration with QuickBooks, Quicken,
Microsoft Money or other similar software to download and view account
• Overdraft protection: Manage overdraft protection online to protect against
unexpected overdrafts or embarrassment of bounced checks.
• Stop/cancel payment: Ability to stop payment on checks that have been issued.
• Image of cleared checks: View images of cancelled/cleared checks online – front
• Online check ordering: Order checks online with the same check design/style or
different, if such option is available.
• Automatic check ordering: Automatic re-orders of checks when the customer is
down to writing the last few checks.
• Apply for loans online: Apply for loans online in a fast, secure and easy manner.
• Online statements: View, print, and save statements online.
• Banking alerts: Receive timely alerts that are sent right to email or wireless
• Customizable alerts: Ability to customize alerts based on personal preference.
• Mobile banking: 24/7 access to banking on mobile phone to check account
balance, view account history, transfer money, and perform other functions.
• Transaction history availability: View history of transactions on your account.
Ability to view history for more than a year.
• Receive eBills: Receive online version of paper bills directly to bill payment
section of bank account.
• Online banking rewards: Receive rewards for online banking.
4. Online Functionality
• Personal Customization – Users can customize the look and feel of their online
account (view/layout, news, and fingertip information).
• Use of Multimedia – The site strikes a good balance between
text/graphics/photos/etc. providing the user with a pleasant online experience.
• Video Demo – The site uses video technology to provide users with instructional
demonstrations, elaborating on products and service features.
5. Availability of Information
• Products’ Description: Information on various products is sufficient and easy to
• Additional Resources: Links to banking related resources. For instance, articles,
tools like calculators to find out loan installment, college saving, retirement
• Fees Structure: Banking fees information such as bounced check charges,
overdraft charges, ATM usage charges, and money transfer fees.
• External Resources: Links to external resources including tax related matters,
brokerage, and insurance products.
III. Evaluation method
The attributes described in the Ideal Bank Website section define a template for
the optimal banking website. By comparing this ideal banking template to already in
place banking websites the project team is able to evaluate and rank the thirty selected
banking websites. A binary scoring system was used to create a report card for the
individual banks. Banks were given a score of either “1” or “0” (see Appendix for
results) for each attribute prescribed by the ideal banking website template. A score of
“1” was given to sites that offered the attribute and “0” when not available or in cases
where a determination could not be made. An overall score was then determined for each
bank by summing the attribute scores. The project team then ranked the individual bank
websites by overall score. The bank with the highest score received the highest ranking.
Additionally, banks were qualitatively evaluated on their strengths and weaknesses from
the perspective of current and potential customers. The qualitative reviews are detailed in
the Bank Analysis sections of the report. Lastly, the project team recorded the time spent
researching and evaluating each banking site. The analysis for each bank site is
discussed in detail in the next section, report card data for each bank is located the
IV. Bank Analysis
1. Bank of America - https://www.bankofamerica.com
Webpage design, style and appearance are all of excellent quality on the Bank of
America’s website. The use of red, white and blue colors and small unassuming graphics
and text contribute to a well laid out homepage coupled with clearly defined banking
search tools, distinctly defined modules focusing users to bank services available, while
impressing a strong sense of security, ease, and free usage. Extensive online help and
interactive demos are clearly marked.
Current customers are able to immediately log on to their accounts; view all
accounts on one page, and transact the full range of banking services available.
Customers can easily scan the page to identify branch & ATM locations, reset passwords/
login ID, and get support with privacy/security concerns. Video tutorials walk customers
through a step by step instructional program to acquaint users with the various online
banking features. Navigation tools permit users to skip through the topics quickly
minimizing the time spent on unnecessary topics and return to their banking needs.
Potential customers can easily survey the site and identify products and services
available. “Open account” hyperlinks on the main page connects the user to a page
charting the full suite of banking products offered with detailed side by side comparison
descriptions laying out the features and requirement of banking product. Bank of
America offers users the ability to have an instant message discussion with customer
service at any point to answer questions or concerns about new accounts or online
banking services. This site is extremely user friendly and online feature rich.
Total Score: 60 Time Spent: 60 min
2. Chase - http://www.chase.com/
Simplistic in design, the Chase bank homepage is easy to navigate and clearly
delineated by product offerings, website news, and online banking capabilities. Graphics
are used to place an emphasis on the websites security or to display a sense of technical
sophistication. Banking information is easy to find and detailed banking product
descriptions are only one click away.
Chase bank provides current and potential users with several tools to help ensure
a positive banking experience. Online banking demonstrations are clear, to the point, and
presented in an interactive fashion. The user can skip unnecessary topics and explore
functionality at their own pace. Guidance tools help customers select the products that
best meets their needs or explore banking features previously unused. Customers are able
to customize several aspects of their day to day banking via tools online; ATM
QuickChoice allows users to set default bank machine preferences (fast cash withdrawal
amount, receipt printing options, language), or Personalized Alerts (automated
mobile/email alerts containing security warning and daily account notifications).
Customer service contact information is easily available on the website from any
page. Customers can contact a bank representative via e-mail, telephone, or find branch
locations for in person trouble resolution. The site however, is strategically designed to
provide current and potential customers with all the information necessary to resolve
predictable concerns online without the need for intervention from a customer service
Chase bank has developed a feature rich full service online banking site using a
simple web design and abundant online support tools.
Total Score: 60 Time Spent: 60 min
3. Wells Fargo Bank - http://www.wellsfargo.com
The bank offers a superb online banking site and is rated among other top
performers such as Bank of America, Citibank, etc. Fraud prevention and online security
along with account services are highlighted on the website’s main page right beneath the
login window. Other resourceful information and various products and services that
Wells Fargo has to offer are displayed with some advertisements to make the site look
colorful and attractive to the users. The site offers the text and other information to be
displayed in Spanish with just one click on the top right corner. If someone is looking to
apply for online banking and wants to save the information in order to finish up the
application at a later date, the site allows you to do so.
Once logged in to the account, the customer can view all the accounts (including
loans, brokerage, etc.) on the “Account Summary” page. From there, the user can view
the account activity, spending report (that summarizes the spending from checking
account, check card, credit card and bill pay service into an easy-to-use report whereby,
you can see how and where you spend your money) and perform several other functions.
The site also allows the user to set up and receive electronic bills similar to what
Wachovia has to offer. Customers can search for other products and services while
logged in to their account as well. In addition, users have the ability to order foreign
currency, travelers’ cheques, gift cards, etc.
Visitors seeking to perform online banking can browse through the site that
contains all the essential information they need as there are online tours available to assist
them in learning about online banking, spending report feature, etc. The website seems
to be effectively designed for a prospective user to explore.
Total Score: 59 Time Spent: 45 min
4. Citibank - http://www.citibank.com
The wealth of features that Citibank’s site offers is just exceptional. With an
excellent balance of text, graphics, bank advertisements and pictures, it allows a user to
find the information with very few clicks compared to its peers. Citibank website allows
you to bank from your computer or mobile device without having to visit or call the
branch for most day to day transactions. The availability of 24/7 customer service via
email or chat allows you to get answers to your questions or resolve matters without
much inconvenience. The site offers links to various financial tools and resources within
the site and outside, allowing users to get the information they are seeking without going
through the typical search engines.
Current users can perform a variety of additional tasks in addition to the standard
online banking functions such as applying for loans, credit cards, etc., linking and
transferring funds between external accounts (domestic and international) of their own
and others in their households, enjoying protection against unauthorized transactions in
their account, etc. One of the features that hardly any other bank site offered is rewards
for online banking from Citibank. With the amount of features that the site offers, one
can perform a search to see if a feature is available or look it up on the website’s site map
that, in our opinion, is very well laid out.
With all the above mentioned banking features along with unparalleled security
section, any potential customer looking to open an account at Citibank would definitely
be appreciative of the site’s functionality. There is a lot of useful and in-depth
information available to users to explore on the site. When a user accesses the Citibank’s
main page, heshe is exposed to a variety of information in such a fashion that it
encompasses all aspects of online banking without leaving the user to be lost.
Total Score: 59 Time Spent: 60 min
5. Wachovia Bank - http://www.wachovia.com
Wachovia’s website very carefully laid out with the login, security information,
and bank locations lookup on the far left, various products and services in the middle and
search and online functionality for business groups on the far right of the bank’s
homepage. The text, colors and graphics are well balanced making the site pleasing to
view. In addition to the online banking demo, a section on “Learn more” about the online
banking is available for users to gain an understanding of this fast growing area of
banking. The vast resources available on Wachovia’s website are truly noteworthy –
from online banking services to retirement, brokerage, insurance, investing products and
services to various tools, newsletters, articles, etc. for each of these products.
Once a customer signs in to his account, heshe can view all the accounts on “My
Accounts” page from where different features for each of the accounts can be accessed.
One of the strengths that no other bank offered was the ability to view and consolidate all
your online accounts – whether it is bank accounts, portfolios, loans, and even your
frequent flyer rewards, emails for both your Wachovia and non-Wachovia online
accounts. In addition, current users can set up to receive e-bills directly to your Bill Pay
screen from where you make the payments. Not only that, they can also set up reminders
to help track when their bills are due including the e-bills that you have set up to receive
online. One of the drawbacks of the site is the inability to customize “My Accounts”
Prospective users can review overall account features, apply online, or contact
customer service right from the main page. Mobile banking is a newly added feature that
seems to attract new customers.
Total Score: 55 Time Spent: 45 min
6. Washington Mutual Bank - http://www.wamu.com
With one fourth of the site’s page covered with advertisements and remainder of
the site with simple, yet discrete layout, this site appears to be well groomed. On the top
right corner of the site, one can find three font sizes that allow users to switch from a
small or medium or large text size. The website design is very user friendly and not
cluttered with too much information on the homepage unlike some of the other large
banking sites. The site offers online banking guarantee as some of the other large banks
do, whereby a user is covered for fraudulent and unauthorized transactions. The site also
provides “Bank-tionary” for users trying to find information or meanings for banking
In addition to viewing and accessing the bank accounts, loans, etc, current users
enjoy the feature of viewing more than a year’s transaction history and 7 years of
statements, which is far more than what most of the other online banks usually offer.
Customers who initiate their payments four business days before the due date using the
online bill payment are backed by the “On Time Guarantee” feature that covers them for
any delay in payments being made beyond the due date.
If a potential user is seeking to navigate the features, the site has an online tutorial
that goes through each of the features along with the respective screens as well as a demo
where a person presents the features the site has to offer and how to sign up from the
convenience of your home. The website is very effective for those seeking to explore
their options with online banking along with some great features a site has to offer.
Total Score: 55 Time Spent: 40 min
7. PNC Bank - https://www.pnc.com
Website design is bright and attractive; the banks colors orange and blue are
integrated well into the site and emphasize the PNC brand. Pictures are used
appropriately to commutate an effective message at a glance; supporting text is included
to remove any possible ambiguity of its meaning. PNC Bank banner ads are displayed at
the top of the page and scroll continuously although slightly annoying not completely
distractive. Bank service and products are grouped logically, text descriptions are tightly
grouped but subtlety delineated with dotted underling for easy readability. Site search
features, customer service/contact information, and interactive demonstration tools are all
easily identifiable. Finding “Getting started” account setup links are obvious and easy to
follow. Additionally, PNC Bank offers Spanish speaking customer’s information in
Current and potential customers may have some difficulty finding loan and rate
information. Isolating mortgage and home equity rates required several drill down
clicks. However, customer service is always available and most in depth web pages list a
24/7 customer representative contact number. Shopping for bank products is made
simple with PNC bank’s comparison tools. This service allows the user to select the
products he/she has the most interest in, the website then builds a comparison table of the
products allowing the user to easily identify the pos and cons of each offering. Online
banking is Quicken compatible making tracking, budgeting, tax data, and investment
planning much simpler. PNC Bank’s Quick switch feature removes the difficulties
associated with changing banks.
New customers are able to easily redirect deposits, update automatic payments,
and closing undesired accounts effortlessly.
Total Score: 53 Time Spent: 30 min
8. HSBC Bank USA - https://www.us.hsbc.com
HSBC online bank is very well organized and has an excellent overall layout,
which makes it easy for customers to find information. Prospective customers can find
out more detail about a service or product by reading related information or they can
watch a demo. Products such as checking or saving accounts are described in a quick
overview format with fees and features illustrated based on different classifications. In
order to logon to the website, customers have to use a security key along with
the password that provides extra layer of security. In addition, register feature gives
customers online versions of checkbook that helps to categorize transaction
entries and reconcile balances. Also, with “Easy View” customers can view their HSBC
and non-HSBC accounts such as yahoo mail, headline news, track travel rewards on a
single page with just one password.
Current and potential customers can also find information on non-banking
products such as insurance, tax-related services, investments, and international services.
For instance, they can obtain auto-insurance quotes directly from HSBC website. HSBC
can further enhance its customer services by offering online chat. Because
of their global presence, they should offer more integration with international services
such as currency exchange and wire transfer.
Total Score: 49 Time Spent: 60 min
9. KeyBank - https://www.key.com
KeyBank website has a well structured layout with white background that makes
font standout more. Although, it is content heavy but the entire format makes
information easy to find. Availability of frequently accessed modules such as online
banking, apply now, and locations on the main page saves time by eliminating several
mouse clicks and provide quick navigation. Online videos and guided tours provide
information about bank’s different products especially their home buyer video and home
equity video are great instructional resources.
For current customers, KeyBank has many unique and useful features. For
example, customers can do domestic and international wire transfer from their account.
In addition, customers can connect to partner websites to order Traveler’s cheques, gift
cheques, and foreign currency. They can quickly setup bill payment, sort transactions
based on categories, generate graphs and reports from their account. Furthermore, they
have several online tools like calculators specific to stock related transactions. They also
provide links to non-banking related websites such as Equifax where customers can find
out their credit score. Customers can also set default main page according to their user
Prospective customers can find essential information on closing their existing
accounts at other banks and transferring them over to KeyBank. They can also find
contact information for product related queries.
Total Score: 48 Time Spent: 60 min
10. Sovereign Bank - http://www.sovereignbank.com/
Sovereign online bank has performed evenly across all five categories.
Advertisements take a considerable portion of the main page and that should be adjusted
to increase font size. Browsing and navigating to different areas of the website is really
convenient. The right side panel on each page enables users to learn more about a subject
by accessing related resources, access accounts, next steps, and customer service queries.
Instructions are easy to understand and highlights what is needed before enrolling for a
particular service. They have considerable number of links to external resources and that
makes them one of the best in the availability of information sector. In order to take it to
the next level, they should give insurance quotes directly from their website.
Current customers can benefit from self-service resources by submitting various
online forms such as requesting copy of cancelled check, statements, and 1099 requests.
Nevertheless, in order to change mailing address they would need to download a form
and mail it. Before logging on, users are prompted to verify pre-selected images in
addition to regular password, thus making banking experience more secure. Users can
also change their login preference based on what they would like to see first. Also,
different icons based on payment methods provide an easy way to understand
Total Score: 47 Time Spent: 50 min
11. Commerce Bank - http://www.commerceonline.com
Simple, yet offering a rich functionality, Commerce Bank’s website seems to
attract individual customers with its good mix of multimedia. The site offers traditional
online banking characteristics supplemented with other products such as loans,
investments, insurance, etc. Mixture of blue, red and white is used in a very creative way
making the website very informational and appealing, yet not too overcrowded. The
bank’s stock price along with major indexes’ prices appears on the “Stock Watch”
section on the bottom of the site. Finding a bank location & ATM and answers to some
frequently asked questions are available right on the site’s homepage.
Once logged in to your account, the user is able to view the account balance along
with various functions he/she can use such as setting up and managing transfers, bill pay,
alerts and other services. The service center contains 3 main categories to the existing
user – inquiries & service requests, message center and adding additional products and
services which appears to be user friendly. One of the downsides of the website is that it
goes through maintenance each night (sometime around midnight) which is very
inopportune for any user looking to login to their account at late night to perform any
transaction or simply view their account balance.
Any prospective customer looking to explore the features that the site offers can
do so from the personal banking webpage link where online banking demo, information
on other accounts such as money market, CDs, IRAs, etc. is available in addition to other
products and services. If you are looking for a website that contains standard and some
additional features (without the complexity of finding them), Commerce bank’s online
banking is a good fit.
Total Score: 47 Time Spent: 45 min
12. Fifth Third Bank - http://www.53.com
The website uses a blend of green, blue and black colors to display the text which
makes the website attractive but large bank advertisements for gift cards, home equity
lines and such are a bit distraction. The site permits the user to log in or explore the site
right from the homepage where an array of other products and services are exhibited
along with information on security, bank locations, site map, etc. One of the features that
the site offers is the planning center where abundant information on college planning,
retirement, buying home, changing jobs, etc. can be found.
The current customer can login directly from the site’s homepage and access the
account summary page that provides a snapshot of their financial position – checking,
savings, credit card, mortgage, brokerage and other accounts held at the Fifth Third
Bank. The user can manage and perform checking and savings account transactions in
addition to viewing information about credit card, equity lines, etc. and even accessing it
using Quicken or Microsoft Money. The multiple payments option allows customers to
pay one or several payees in addition to viewing prior payments made to them.
Prospective users can view the interactive video and internet banking demos to
get familiarized with the online banking. Once a user has obtained their ATM card and
PIN number, accessing the online banking is just a few clicks away as there are no forms
to fill out and there is no waiting period to gain access.
Total Score: 46 Time Spent: 50 min
13. Huntington.com - https://www.huntington.com/
Huntington online bank has a fresh look with a clear format. It has a good overall
layout and nice color schemes. Prospective customer can quickly and easily find
information about different products and compare them with each other. Customer
service is available in the form of email, FAQ’s, and service specific phone numbers.
Also, tools such as financial and business calculator can be helpful when planning for
retirement, college saving, or purchasing a house.
Huntington’s current customers take advantage of online banking by monitoring
their spending in categorized format. Reports can be generated based on budget, tax
based transactions, and cash flow. When the customer has a question about a transaction,
heshe can directly send a message to customer service. All send and receive messages
are displayed on one page. It integrates well with financial software such as Microsoft
Money and Quicken.
Huntington should minimize product promotion on the main page. Instead,
that space should be utilized to emphasize product categories. Menus on top section
should be formulated so that they become obvious and easy to find. Online chat can help
enhance customer service by instantly resolving any problems. Additionally, receiving
bills directly on the website will be convenient for customers.
Total Score: 44 Time Spent: 45 min
14. First National Bank Omaha - http://www.firstnational.com
The website appears to be very similar in design and format to that of the Fifth
Third Bank. The advertisements seem to be brighter than they need to be but smaller
compared to those on the Fifth Third Bank. The user has the ability to access various
online services, look up product information and browse through the useful tools,
resources and services right from the online banking login page.
The login for this site is a bit distinct from most of the other online banking
websites. The current user is prompted for entering their user name at the login screen
after which he/she is taken to the page where a personal message (that has been initially
created by the user) is shown to the user to verify before entering their password for
account access. This serves as an extra layer of security when logging in to the account.
Once logged in, similar to many other sites, this website displays the last 4 digits of the
customer’s account numbers’ only for security purposes. Other than viewing accounts
and bill payment services, the site offers other account services and financial tools such
as calculators, financial guides, newsletters, etc. from the account summary screen.
Any user looking to get a feel of the website can attain that from the web demo
available right from the homepage without having to browse through the website. The
demo provides descriptions and screen shots that give users an insight at what the First
National Bank Omaha has to offer for online banking. In addition, the demo has two
viewing formats – one, where potential users go through each section in an order without
having to click on anything and the other, where they can set the pace for review of the
sections giving more control. The site itself is conveniently displayed and appears to be
Total Score: 44 Time Spent: 45 min
15. Affinity Federal Credit Union - https://www.affinityfcu.org/
The website design is very effective, information is easy to locate and available
via several methods from the main webpage. The site uses several colors to demark the
functional sections of the page. Text is readable although a bit cluttered, however reverse
contrast text is used well to alleviate some of the visual noise. Graphics and art are
supportive and helpful in communicating the desired message to user. The main page
allows current customers to directly login in to their accounts, search the site, locate
ATM/branch locations, see bank rate information at a glance, use financial calculators,
get financial planning advice, or get customer service.
Current and potential customers can easily use the web site to get information on
all the banking products Affinity offers, including retirement investment and insurance
products. A strong emphasis is placed on customer service; contact information is clearly
listed, online chat with customer representatives is available, as well as interactive online
banking demonstrations. Affinity does not offer a few advanced online banking tools
such as; email alerts, mobile banking access, or aggregate banking account information.
Current customers can address all their banking and financial needs via the
Affinity website. Customers can utilize online banking to transfer money between
accounts, pay bills, apply for loans, use financial tools, and even deposit funds up to
Potential customers are able to quickly determine the services Affinity has to
offer, get product specific detailed information, apply for accounts or loans online, and
receive any customer support needed. The structure and functionality of the Affinity web
site supports a positive banking atmosphere for potential and current customers.
Total Score: 44 Time Spent: 30 min
16. US Bank - https://www.usbank.com/
Security and Services are two areas where US Bank demonstrates edge over other
banks. While browsing the site, customers would come across several security links that
give feeling of assurance and confidence. Drop down menus are neatly organized on
both sides of the page making it easier for customers to reach their target. The entire
website is not centrally aligned, therefore leaving empty space on the right side. It is
difficult to read contents especially top and bottom menus as font size is too small.
Interactive slide presentations give customers feeling as if they are present at an actual
bank. By looking at screenshots of sample activities, prospective customers can get first
hand experience of online banking. Their product specific 24/7 customer service ensures
that someone will always be there to assist and answer any questions. Because of their
limited physical presence, they should extend their ATM search to bring any bank that is
closest to the location.
One of the great features US Bank’s customers enjoy is that they can view all
their accounts i.e. credit account, deposit account, investment account on a single page.
With cash advance function, customers can take out money from their credit account or
from other direct deposit accounts and move them into their checking account. Also,
they can apply for new loans or credit line increase directly from their account. In
addition, customers can easily see details on checks by switching to different formats
such as reverse black and white or zoom and they can also print and save. Other online
banking features such as e-bill, transfer, integration with financial software are also at
Total Score: 41 Time Spent: 50 min
17. Ameriprise - http://www.ameriprise.com/
The Ameriprise banking website is attractive and arranged well; the page is easy
to read, functional areas are separated effectively, account features are thoroughly
described, and support is readily available. The primary colors used are blue and orange;
they complement each other nicely and make the site appear crisp and clear. Background
shading is used to setup contrast for different functional areas and to offset text in large
tables for improved readability. Some art and graphics are used on the site however;
pictures are generally cosmetic and used to add a sense of financial stability to the bank.
Rollover tabs open dropdown sub-menus on the page permitting the user to see additional
information without having to drill down further into the site, a convenient tool for new
or potential users who are not familiar with the Ameriprise website. Customer service
links and contact numbers are displayed predominately on the page.
Current and potential customers can review overall account features at a glance,
apply online, or contact customer service as necessary. The website gives each bank
product classification its own dedicated page on the site. All the individual product
offerings within the classification are described and compared feature by feature so a user
can determine which product suites their needs best. Online demonstration tools exist so
potential customers are able to get an understanding for the look and feel of the
Ameriprise user interface. Users still requiring assistance may contact customer service
via email, telephone, or meet a representative local branch office.
Although, the Ameriprise website is very effective at communicating reliability
and ease of use; the online banking tools are slightly limited (for example, no mobile
banking) due to the fact that their primary business centers around financial services.
Total score: 40 Time Spent: 45 min
18. E*Trade - https://us.etrade.com/e/t/banking
E*Trade has evenly distributed content with some strong security features. It has
dull color schemes and non-uniform layout; particularly some of the useful menus are
listed at the bottom of the page, which is contrary to normal convention. It has performed
average in availability of information and convenience categories. It warrants
improvement in online functionality and service areas.
For prospective customers, the comparison on current yields shown on the main
page is not meaningful as it does not display competitor’s information. Also, the website
lacks interactive demos/tutorials that can help in explaining different products to new
customers. They should improve their ATM search engine so that it not only brings
E*Trade branches, but also any bank that is close to the location.
For current customers, it shows all service related information on a single page.
One of the useful features is the ability to track all service requests, ask questions, locate
tutorials, and other similar functions directly from a portal. Furthermore, they can see
images of their checks as well as deposits from their accounts. They can also use their
brokerage account to perform online banking, thereby giving more financial control to
make the most out of cash between investments. In addition, E*Trade Digital Security
ID provides a unique and enhanced security measures to online banking. E-trade
customers receive a digital card that displays a new PIN every 60 seconds. Furthermore,
their quick and easy money transfer service to and from any financial institutions is really
Total Score: 38 Time Spent: 40 min
19. EverBank - https://www.everbank.com
Webpage design is tabular and well delineated; earth tone colors are used to offset
functional areas on the page distinguishing the sections of content. Banking rates are
predominately displayed on virtually every webpage of the EverBank website. Text is
small and difficult to read and generally offset against a white background. Rollover
dropdown tabs reveal subsection link topics allowing users to easily identify and drill
down to the desired information. Products and customer service links are easily
identified however; the resulting information is difficult to see at a glance and requires
the user to read through cluttered text containing several sub notes to find the information
they require. On site help is limited to pdf instruction documents and pop-up answers to
canned questions, some of which require the user to scroll down through several screens
of plain text to get an answer. Customer service is available either via telephone or
website form email.
Current customers can log in directly from the EverBank website home page to
access their account information and conduct online banking transactions and find ATM
locations. Financial tools and calculators help customers evaluate several loan scenarios
and determine foreign currency exchanges.
Unfortunately, prospective customers are given limited to zero visibility into the
look and feel of the EverBank online banking experience. Users can not review
demonstrations of the online banking interface and it is difficult to understand what exact
services are available. For example; EverBank offers aggregate account information for
non-EverBank accounts, yet a potential customer looking for this service may rule out
EverBank as a provider because it is not an obvious feature. The EverBank website
while functional is not optimally user friendly.
Total Score: 36 Time Spent: 45 min
20. First Internet Bank of Indiana - https://www.firstib.com
First Internet Bank of Indiana has performed well in service category because of
their wide range of online services to current customers. They can redeem CDs, dispute
fees/ATM transactions, stop/cancel/reorder checks, close account, request increase in
credit limit, add joint account holder directly from their account.
Current and potential customers can find out if bank’s maintenance schedule is
suitable to their access hours. They can use the search function to lookup any
information or click on contact us to chat with customer service specialists. However, the
website design makes it difficult to navigate and find desired information. For instance,
menus on the left panel should also be available on top section and they should also
display sub-categories. The font size makes it harder to read available information.
Because of these factors, the website received fewer points in convenience category.
Prospective customers can learn more about bank’s services by viewing an
interactive demo. Nevertheless, they can not search ATMs or branch locations on the
site. In contrast, current customers can lookup ATM locations to make a deposit and they
can print deposit slips as well.
Considering its exclusive online presence, it should offer customer service 24/7.
On security front, they need to re-evaluate some of their processes to ensure current and
potential customers are confident with their online banking experience.
Total Score: 35 Time Spent: 40 min
21. Sun National Bank - http://www.sunnb.com
Sun National Bank is a small regional bank offering basic online banking with
mediocre functionality. Even though the site offers branch locations and other resources
right from the login homepage, the text size displayed is smaller compared to other
websites and as a result, it renders the site a bit less tasteful to explore. In addition, the
advertisements cover nearly half of the website which leaves very little room for essential
information for any user to view. Moreover, there is no online banking demo available to
any new users to become acquainted with the online banking features the bank has to
One of the strengths that this regional bank site offers is availability of intraday
transactions that affect a customer’s available account balance. Such transactions appear
in the account’s history screen identified by “Memo” appearing in the date field that have
been authorized or submitted but not yet posted to the account. Most of the other small
banks generally do not display such information until it has been finalized and posted to
the individual’s account.
The site offers “Switch Kit Planner” – a pdf template that can be printed and used
to keep a new user organized when switching to Sun National Bank’s online banking.
Moreover, the absence of online banking demo and an ordinary lay out of the site deprive
the prospective user from scanning through the site and looking at the features that the
bank may have to offer.
In general, the site needs to be a bit more creative, attractive and informational
with appropriate links to resources and tools for prospective customers.
Total Score: 35 Time Spent: 30 min
22. Cape Savings Bank - http://www.capebankonline2.com
Another small community bank that offers basic online banking features is Cape
Savings Bank. The website’s layout is simple and straightforward as expected. The use
of minimal bank advertisements allows any current or prospective user to browse through
the website without much hassle. However, plain and simple text with some font styles is
all what one can see on the site, creating a poor balance between graphics and text usage.
Being a small bank, specific contact information is available to contact bank personnel
but if someone is looking for driving directions or maps to the bank, he/she might want to
use sites such as Mapquest, Google maps, etc.
When a current customer logs in, he/she is brought to the account summary page
by default, but such view can be changed by switching to a different layout such as
reports, bill payment, etc. In addition, another feature that the site offers is enhanced
security to current computer or all computers, which we believe was one of the main
features this site had to offer beside basic online banking. Although, email alerts are the
only medium available at this time, the site does expect to have the mobile alerts and
banking available sometime in the future.
Online bill payment seems to be the only demo that is available on the bank’s site
as the online banking demo is not functional. This limits a potential user to navigate
through the features the bank might have to offer. Any potential user who is looking for
a website that provides an array of features is likely to choose some other bank than Cape
Savings due to its poor multimedia and limited information availability (website itself
does not display information to be readily accessible due to poor webpage design).
Total Score: 35 Time Spent: 40 min
23. Schwab Bank - http://www.schwabbank.com/
Site design is tabular in structure, delineated into functional areas. Little color is
used and no graphics or advertisements are present on the page. The home page is simple
and basically a direct portal into a current customer’s bank account. As a result the page
is dominated by the “Account Login” field with a small “New Account” application link
underneath. Some page space is used to list new features and a simple description of the
various Schwab products. A “More” information hyperlinks can be followed if a user
requires more in-depth product level detail.
Current customers have access to online bill pay services and home financing
products and tools. An account and mortgage interest rate table is available however it is
difficult to read due to font size and poor design layout. The bank does not offer
advanced online banking service such as account activity email alerts, mobile banking,
budgeting tools/spending reports, or banking rewards. Current and potential customers
have little online customer service options; help is limited to frequently asked questions
and assistance from customer service representatives via the telephone.
New customers will not generally be attracted to Schwab bank based on the
bank’s online banking services or web design. Schwab’s online banking functions are
not as robust as others within the industry and customer service is almost nonexistent.
Banking services appear to be a complement to Schwab’s investor services and not
intended to serve as a full feature consumer bank with web enabled customer service and
advance banking tools. Several links within the website link users to the Charles Schwab
Total Score: 35 Time Spent: 30 min.
24. Boardwalk Bank - http://www.boardwalkbank.com
The website’s layout is very simple and straightforward. The use of blue and
black text on a white background makes the website somewhat dull compared to other
online banking sites. Since Boardwalk bank is a small community bank serving the
southern New Jersey area, the features available on the site are limited to a few basic
ones such as online bill pay, transfers, viewing history and so forth.
For a current user, the site allows them to log in and perform online banking from
one screen that lists the various accounts held at this bank. If one had to look up the
branch and ATM locations, they are limited to address, telephone numbers and operation
hours information only – no maps, driving directions are available. In addition, the site
does not allow to set-up future transfers. One can view all their accounts held at this
bank on the account access page but to apply for such accounts, it must be done via mail
or in person such as applying for a loan must be done at the bank’s office.
Any potential user looking to bank through the Boardwalk Bank’s website can
view the features and how they can perform online banking through the test demo. It was
noted that the demo does not resemble a typical online banking video tutorial demo.
Rather, this demo allows the potential user to navigate through the various screens as if
he/she were a current user, thereby, allowing them to set up dummy bill payments, alerts,
view transactions, etc. In addition, it provides a description of what the screen and each
feature listed on it entails.
This website is perfect for those looking to perform online banking just to view
their accounts, pay bills online and appreciate its simplicity. If you are looking for
advance online banking features, this banking website is not ideal for such purpose.
Total Score: 33 Time Spent: 30 min
25. Presidential Bank - http://www.presidential.com
Website design is rudimentary and slightly distracting/confusing. A user gets a
feeling of information overload upon entering the site, due to several styles of cramped
text, several color schemes, and mismatched textured backgrounds. Banking rate
advertisements dominate the page supported by animated flashing graphs, another
contributor to the sites overall clutter. The site is divided into several functional sections
with multiple scrolling windows within the page causing the page to scroll awkwardly
when attempting to scan the page for information. Customer service information is
available on the main page via email or telephone.
Current users must click a login button on the main page to get access to the login
page and then choose from several online banking functions before an account login field
appears, granting the user access to their account information. Logged in customers are
then able to transact online banking business, customize some simple banking features,
apply for loans, or determine branch locations.
Potential customers have the ability to review frequently asked questions,
compare banking rates, product features, test the sites online banking simulation tool, or
open an account online. New accounts are easily opened by following a link on any page
to the bank’s one page application form. Additionally, Presidential Bank offers
investment services through a third party provider Clarendon Securities, a link is
provided redirecting the user.
Several important online banking features are missing from the site including.
financial planning tools, calculators, ATM location finder, and mobile banking tools.
Total Score: 32 Time Spent: 50 min
26. Provident Bank NJ - http://www.providentbanknj.com/
Provident Bank NJ’s website has an unorthodox layout with disperse information
all across the page. A large advertisement, which is placed in the middle, does not load
properly and makes it difficult to find content. There is no clear distinction between
different sections of a page and there is no concept of menus. Customers who are
interested in opening a CD account or savings account will not be able to find interest
yield information. The website lacks details and descriptions of different products. For
example, if someone likes to get more detail about checking account, they have to click
on a tabular link that is not intuitive at first sight. Similarly, finding more information on
a topic or locating external references is not readily available. They should make their
website more interactive and add multimedia such as online demo or videos.
To their credit, they are one of the few banks with links to fees structure. Also,
the section on financial assistance has some good web tools such as rent vs. buy
calculator and college saving calculator.
Current customers who receive social security payments can set up direct deposit
online. Online banking is available to current customers but there is no information on
type of services available to them. There is a link to an interesting feature known as
Remote Deposit, but there is no explanation on what it is supposed to do.
Total Score: 31 Time Spent: 55 min
27. Valley National Bank - http://www.valleynationalbank.com/
Valley National Bank’s website has a cluttered layout with inconsistent template
across different pages. The extra space on each side of the main page could have been
utilized for providing more information for prospective customers. Color combination on
the website makes it difficult to read menus and gives an unprofessional feel. Extensive
graphics and large product advertisement makes it extremely unattractive. Even though,
it has a good overview of privacy and security information, it needs to undergo a major
overhaul to compete against top banks.
Prospective customers can gain information about different products by accessing
links on main page. Online Demo is not easy to find and it requires some technical
expertise to understand various features and products. There is no option to open an
online account, which could be a big turn away for potential clients. Also, it does not
have current CDs and saving interest rates anywhere on the website. Surprisingly, new
customers can apply for loans directly through the website. Mortgage seekers can find
information and interest rates on the main page.
Current customers can benefit from online banking by paying bills, checking
account balances, transfer money, and download statements into Microsoft money and
Quicken. They can setup notifications based on different types of balance states. There is
a Co-Browse feature, which looks interesting but there is no information on how it
Total Score: 30 Time Spent: 40 min
28. Ascencia Bank - http://www.ascenciabank.com/
Website design is basic and looks less professional in comparison to other online
banking web pages. The site’s use of solid flat colors without shading or blending is
reminiscent of early web design. Plain text is used with only bolding or italics
enhancements, rectangle straight line borders are used to offset topics. All sub web-
pages are over crowded with text and generally information can not be ascertained in a
glance. Additionally, the main page is also missing several standard features generally
available to customers within the industry including; site search field, direct account
login field, bank contact information, ATM/branch location tools, and rollover topic
dropdown subfields. However, a current customer well acquainted with Ascencia may
appreciate the simplistic web design and lack of advertisements.
Once a current customer is logged onto the site they are able to see a list of their
current accounts listed by account number, and conduct banking as needed. Again, the
user interface is very simple and straight forward. Online customer service is very
limited as well. Only a list of frequently asked questions and answers are provided to
help customers resolve problems, issues not listed or unresolved issues must be addressed
by a bank representative via telephone or email.
Potential customers must surf through most of the site in order to develop a strong
understanding of Ascencia product offerings. Although, they do provide an online
banking demonstration tool to get new users familiar with the sites banking interface.
The “Open Account” hyperlinks could be better presented and easier to identify.
Banking rate information is customer friendly and can be determined with little effort. In
general, the Ascencia site is feature and customer service limited.
Total Score: 30 Time Spent: 45 min
29. Bank of Hawaii - https://www.boh.com/
Design of home page is busy and slightly distracting. Bank service ads and offers
continually cycle across the top of the page. Blue text is used predominately against a
white background which is difficult to read due to the large amount of text used and small
font size. Orange and red text is used additionally to offset important links although
again slightly distracting. Accented icons are well-designed and effectively help guide
the user where appropriate. Art is limited in use but confusing as to its purpose. Bank
products are listed by function in bulleted list on the center of the page with hyperlinks to
more information. Select banking rates are predominantly listed for easy identification.
Bank of Hawaii’s site is very customer service friendly. Current customers are
provided online and telephone assistance at the top of every webpage, and allow the
customer to setup a return call from a bank representative. Financial planning tools for
budgeting, retirement planning, home buying, and loan calculators are easily accessed
from the main page and continue to be displayed on each successive webpage. Online
banking features including mobile banking tools are clearly defined and easy to setup.
Potential customers are also treated to a very customer service focused online
atmosphere. The bank has created interactive demonstration simulations for several of
their online banking tools including mobile banking and general online banking. These
simulations give customers the ability to actually try out the related services in a truly
interactive environment. The demos should attract potential customers to the bank.
Bank of Hawaii’s strong customer service emphasis and online product
simulations more then makes up for any clutter associated with information overload.
Total Score: 30 Time Spent: 45 min
30. North Fork Bank - http://www.northforkbank.com/home.asp
North Fork Bank has a decent overall layout but needs to improve its online
banking functionality. Information is more readily available for current customers as
compared to potential customer. For instance, current customers can enroll for online
banking, whereas potential customers have to visit a bank to open an account.
Mortgages and consumer loans can not be applied via online thus making banking
experience more inclined toward brick and mortar style. Colors and menus are in par
with normal convention, but excessive advertisements and graphics offset overall design.
Demo of online bill payment and online banking is not constructed properly making it
difficult to understand if the two are linked together for customers. Users can obtain
information on insurance and brokerage services, but they can not obtain quotes or apply
Current customers can perform several tasks such as stop payment, loan payment,
and transfer money from their online portal. They can also add payee and setup
recurrence for online billing. A nice feature available to current customer is that they can
view pie graph of their activities. Also, they can customize start page to display most
important information according to customer’s preference.
They have to add more features to online banking in order to compete with other
ranked banks. Similarly, they have to make it more convenient and user friendly.
Total Score: 23 Time Spent: 40 min
As expected none of the 30 banking websites reviewed matched the ideal banking
template exactly. However, several banking sites did contain the majority of the
attributes prescribed and offered services and features beyond simple online banking. In
terms of security, Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo offered all the template
attributes required for an ideal banking website. As far as convenience is concerned,
Bank of America, Chase and Wachovia ranked the best, providing users with superior,
easy to use, site navigation and search tools. Wells Fargo, Citibank, Washington Mutual,
HSBC and Commerce offered the highest ranked online functionality, providing
demonstration tools, excellent site design (balance of texts and graphics), and personal
site preference customization opposed to default views provided on the majority of online
banking websites. All of the banks reviewed provide basic online account services
however, Bank of America, Chase and Citibank standout as industry leaders by providing
enhanced online account services prescribed by the ideal template. Lastly, under the
element of information availability most banking sites rank very well, keeping banking
information, products, and customer contact information readily available on their sites.
Finally, the highest overall score awarded of 60 (max possible 64) went to Bank of
America and Chase, resulting in a tie.
Lastly, the project team has drawn several conclusions based on observations
made during the banking site analysis pertaining to; the size and etymology of the bank.
Large banks constantly had well designed, feature rich websites that stressed products
and services while simultaneously emphasizing the bank’s branding. Additionally, larger
banks have invested resources in customer service channels, such as online video
demonstrations, service simulation tools, and advanced online documentation help tools.
By promoting these online customer service solutions larger banks have reduced their
human capital costs spent on service representatives and still provide high levels of
customer service. Small banks generally have well designed websites however; a
conscience attempt to brand the bank’s image via the site is not apparent. Interestingly,
smaller banks generally have unique services unavailable at bigger banks including, auto
leasing programs or health savings accounts. The focus of customer service at smaller
institutions is also at a more personal level and direct customer service interaction is
encouraged. Banking websites are also strongly influenced by the bank’s origin. Brick
and mortar banks have a different feel than exclusively online banks. Branch and ATM
locations need to be stressed for obvious reasons on B&M sites, yet these banks also use
their physical presence to promote convenience and reliability. Exclusively, online banks
tend to stress their low cost solutions to promote and attract customers. A distinct third
version of online bank also exists in the form of a brokerage banking account. Brokerage
firms have started to offer traditional banking services to their investor clients. This
strategy works in two ways; first current customers can keep all of their financial data in
a signal repository and eliminate the need for multiple accounts. Second, the brokerage
can attract novice or unlikely investors by allowing them to open banking accounts in the
hopes of securing their future investment business. These hybrid sites consistently had
the least amount of features and the poorest customer service tools; however they all
without fail had links back to their more sophisticated main brokerage websites. In the
future, we anticipate that with the improvement in technology, banks will offer more
online services to attract customers.