In December, Corporate Insight released its annual Monitor Awards research reports that recognize excellence in the digital experience of banking and credit card sectors. Using our proprietary Digital Audit software and best-practice-based grading criteria, our industry analysts evaluate the key digital platform features and tools offered by 18 banking firms and 11 card issuers that we track through our Bank Monitor and Credit Card Monitor services, respectively. In these assessments, we considered attributes like data freshness, findability, information quality, usability and visual design. We then chose top-performing websites for gold, silver and bronze awards. Gold medals go to the firms with the most robust and valuable capabilities—those that most closely achieve the ideal combination of important features and intuitive functionality.

The following are categories evaluated in this year’s Monitor Awards reports:

Chase and Wells Fargo excelled in our Bank Monitor Awards Report, each earning two gold medals and one bronze. Chase led the pack in Payments and in Transfers. Its unique, consolidated bill pay and P2P payment interface includes a comprehensive landing page as well as extensive payment scheduling and management options. Additionally, Chase offers a robust transfer interface with advanced capabilities, such as real-time delivery for outgoing external transfers to eligible institutions. Wells Fargo earned gold medals in Account Servicing and Website Design & Usability. The firm’s commendable card management functionality and exceptionally quick, helpful customer service paired well with its strong self-servicing capabilities and other help resources. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo continued to reign supreme in Website Design & Usability, winning gold for the third year in a row; its modern, user-friendly site combines a strong homepage layout with a comprehensive main navigation scheme.

View a preview slide deck of Bank Monitor gold medal winners here:


Aside from platform enhancements, banking firms had an eventful year that saw a blockbuster merger between BB&T and SunTrust, fluctuating deposit account rates and the introduction of a diverse automatic savings tools. On July 31, the Federal Reserve decreased its prime lending rate for the first time since the Great Recession, followed by two subsequent rate cuts in September and October. Overall, the prime lending rate decreased from 2.50% to 1.75% over the course of three months, prompting several firms in the Bank Monitor coverage group to make their first major cuts in 11 years. Several firms like Chase, KeyBank and Ally introduced automatic savings tools to help compensate for fluctuating rates and to help consumers better achieve financial independence. Chase introduced an Autosave tool in May that allows savings account holders to create rules for recurring transfers from checking to savings, while KeyBank introduced an automatic savings program that transfers $1 from users’ checking accounts to their savings accounts each time they make debit card purchases.

Citi emerged as the most decorated card issuer in this year’s Credit Card Monitor Awards Report by earning two gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal. Citi earned a gold medal in Payments for a payment scheduling journey with extensive preset and customized options, all presented in a well-organized and straightforward interface with a full suite of management options. Citi stands out for allowing users to add payment accounts by providing their external login credentials—a feature unique for the firm. Citi earned its other gold medal in Website Design & Usability by offering a carefully designed and intuitive navigation scheme, enabling users to journey quickly and easily throughout the authenticated site. Citi’s desktop site also excels for its modern aesthetic coupled with strong design choices and usability.

Firms across the coverage group introduced or expanded installment loan services on credit card products. Coverage group issuers first began entering the installment loan space in 2017 when American Express announced its installment loan program Plan It, which allows card holders to finance purchases of $100 or more with a flexible duration. This year, the firm updated the Plan It interface for incorporation into the main site architecture and expanded the service, allowing users to create a single plan for up to 10 transactions. Citi implemented its two Flex Plan options: Flex Pay and Flex Loan. Flex Loan allows card holders to borrow money from their credit lines and pay it back at a fixed rate that is significantly lower than the cash advance APR. Chase will soon join Amex and Citi with its on My Chase Plan and My Chase Loan options in 2020.

View a preview slide deck of Credit Card Monitor gold medal winners here:


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