Credit Card Mobile Apps Compared

If you’re a regular credit card user, having your card’s mobile app can give you the on-the-go access you need to stay on top of your account. And depending on the card issuer, the app may offer other valuable features and benefits. Knowing what’s available when you choose and use a credit card can make your life easier.

What to Look for in a Credit Card Mobile App

A mobile app can make it easy to manage your credit card. Many of the largest credit card issuers have apps that allow you to track your purchases, make payments and view your monthly statements. But depending on which card you have, you could do much more than that.

For Mark Ranta, head of digital banking solutions at payment systems company ACI Worldwide, a good mobile app is essential if you own a credit card with several features or a complex rewards structure. “If you have a card that rotates its rewards schedule or has relationships with merchants, having the ability to use the app to easily navigate those things is something that you should certainly keep in mind,” he says.

[Read: Best Rewards Credit Cards.]

Don’t forget about features that you may not use often but that can still save you time. Jim Miller, vice president of the banking and credit card practice at J.D. Power, once accidentally left his credit card at a restaurant while traveling, and instead of calling his card issuer, he reported the card lost through his mobile app. “They immediately canceled the card and sent me a new one,” he says. “It took a couple of minutes, and I was on my way.”

Comparing Mobile Apps From Major Credit Card Issuers

If you want to know how good a mobile app is, your best bet is to see how current users like it. J.D. Power did exactly that with its 2018 U.S. Credit Card App Satisfaction Study. The research firm rated credit card mobile apps, giving each a score based on five factors:

— Ease of navigation

— Appearance

— Clarity of information

— Range of services

— Availability of key information

Depending on the overall score each app received, J.D. Power gave it a rating out of five.

Here’s a look at the apps of the six largest general purpose credit card issuers by volume in 2017, according to The Nilson Report, a payment industry newsletter. Each issuer offers versions for Android and iOS.

American Express. American Express’s mobile app was the highest-rated credit card app in the J.D. Power study. The app was the only one that received a rating of five out of five, which is among the best. In the app, you can keep track of your transactions, check your monthly statements, redeem rewards and explore your card benefits. You can also activate Amex Offers with your favorite retailers and restaurants. And the app allows you to set up notifications for purchases and fraudulent activity, making it easy to stay on top of your spending and spot fraud before it goes too far.

“American Express made major changes in their app from 2017 to 2018, improving the user interface and adding features,” says Miller.

Chase. The bank’s mobile app was rated three out of five in the J.D. Power study, making it about average, but its overall score was below the industry average. You can use it to review and pay your Chase credit cards, access rewards information and set up notifications. You can also view your VantageScore credit score through the app and access secure messages from Chase’s customer service team.

Citi. Through the Citi Mobile Snapshot feature, this issuer’s mobile app allows you to get a summary of your main account information before you sign in. You can also use the Citi Quick Lock feature to lock your card if it’s lost or stolen and even to request a replacement card. Like with other credit card mobile apps, you can view your transactions and pay your bill. But if you notice an unauthorized transaction on your account, you can also dispute it through the app. Other highlights include the ability to view and redeem rewards and check your FICO credit score. Citi’s app was rated three out of five in the J.D. Power study, but its total score was below the industry average.

Bank of America. The bank’s mobile app received a rating of three out of five in the J.D. Power study. With the app, you can pay your bill, view your transactions, access your FICO credit score and get account alerts. You can also view and redeem your rewards, and search for and activate offerings from BankAmeriDeals, the bank’s cash back deal platform with various retailers and restaurants.

[Read: Best Low-Interest Credit Cards.]

Capital One. The Capital One mobile app is one of two that received a rating of four out of five in the J.D. Power study, which is better than most. (Discover’s app was the other.) The app offers many of the features you might expect a credit card app to have. For instance, you can review your transactions and statements, view and redeem rewards, pay your bill and set up purchase notifications. There are, however, a couple features that make the app stand out. First, Capital One allows you to instantly lock your card if it gets lost or stolen. If you find the card, you can unlock it and continue using it as you normally would. And instead of a password, Capital One allows you to sign in using a pattern you trace with your finger. Finally, the app gives you access to Capital One’s credit monitoring service, CreditWise, where you can view your VantageScore credit score and what factors are influencing it. You’ll also get tips on how to improve your score.

U.S. Bank. While it offers basic features, allowing you to view your transactions, check your balance without logging in, pay your bill and set up travel alerts, U.S. Bank’s mobile app doesn’t have much else in terms of credit card features. The app earned the lowest score in the J.D. Power study and a rating of two out of five.

[Read: Best Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fee.]

Consider a Card’s Mobile App Before Applying

If you’re looking to get a new credit card, Miller recommends considering each card’s mobile app when shopping around. “Customers usually select a credit card based on rewards and for some interest rate,” he says, “but the mobile app should be a secondary criterion or a good tiebreaker.”

If the card doesn’t have a mobile app at all, it could make it difficult to access your account if you’re traveling or away from a computer.

Once you find a credit card with a good mobile app, Ranta emphasizes how important it is to keep your account secure. “Don’t use simple passcodes,” he says, “and when biometrics (such as fingerprint or face ID software) are available, use them.”

If you’re eligible, you can choose to add your card to the issuer’s proprietary mobile wallet or to a more universal one like Google Pay or Apple Pay. Before you do, compare all your options to make sure you get the best level of convenience and security.

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Credit Card Mobile Apps Compared originally appeared on usnews.com