Over half of smartphone users are not happy with their banking institution's mobile application, as shown by a study released this week by multi-channel software and services developer WorkLight. Customers were asked about bankin

g directly on their devices in response to increasing smartphone usage and greater investments by financial institutions on app development.

The demographics by device show mostly iPhone users (54 percent), followed by Blackberry (29 percent) and Android models (fifteen percent). The age group with more iPhone users was the 25-34 category, with younger and older groups somewhere in the 45-50 percent levels. Blackberry users trended opposite, with most users above 55, and least in the 25-34 group. Most Android users were in the youngest age group (21 percent), and no users above 55.

A total of 48 percent of respondents expressed dissatisfaction with their bank's mobile app, and satisfaction only added up to 49 percent. On the two ends of the response spectrum, complete dissatisfaction far outnumbered complete satisfaction - forty percent compared to 26 percent.

The main problem suffered by respondents were security and privacy concerns - about two-thirds cited this as an issue. Nearly one-quarter indicated poor user experience and one-fifth complained of a lack of important features. Of missing features, the responses were as follows:

Pay bills such as monthly utility bill - 25 percent
Use personalized budgeting tools - 25 percent
Transfer money between accounts - 22 percent
Get alerts on account activities - 14 percent
View account balance and transactions - 12 percent

This list skews slightly with gender - females cited personal budgeting tools more often than paying bills, as well as preferred account balance access over activity alerts. Male responses were in the same order as the general population. Older demographics also differed in missing feature responses - only fifteen percent of those 35-54 indicated personalized budgeting tools, and nobody over 55 indicated money transfer.

“This is an indication of the high standards that exist in the fragmented smartphone application market, creating a real challenge for banks and mobile application developers,” commented Kurt Daniel, COO at WorkLight. “Facing growing market demand for this class of applications, companies often compromise on quality and depth for a quick go-to-market. Unfortunately, this approach creates the risk of offering mobile applications that do not meet expectations and reflect negatively on banks’ brands.”