Canadian iPhone users know that Canadian iPhone banking apps didn’t even exist until this year.  It all started with CIBC coming out with an iPhone mobile banking app (Feb.2010), then advertising it all over the web, TV and with mobile advertising in the popular Weather Network’s app.  Additionally,  this week ING Direct Canada released an iPhone/iPod touch app and a Blackberry app that will revolutionize their business, allowing their clients to use their smartphones to check balances; more importantly, Canadians now have the long-awaited ability to transfer funds. This is only the beginning.  With the iPad and other smart devices coming into households, the desktop online banking paradigm will change and mobile banking will be the defacto standard.

I am quite impressed with both CIBC and ING Direct iPhone apps, both are well designed, full-featured and very easy to use. They both have the check balances, review transactions and transfer funds features.

The thing I like about the ING Direct app is that they show consideration and respect for the Twitter community by including a button to access ING’s Twitter accounts.  Since ING Direct is not a traditional chequing account bank, it doesn’t have the Pay bills or Interac email transfer features that CIBC does. Additional features include current interest rates as well as geolocation of ABMs on a map.

CIBC’s app is very extensive and brings in credit card balances and lines of credit as well. One issue I had with CIBC’s app is that when you go to the ABM locator, it actually opens Safari and provides another mobile friendly site where you can then find your closest ABM. It’s not a good experience for users when you get ousted from an app you are in and moved into Safari (Note to CIBC: Fix this, or just copy what ING did).  The mobile Interac email money transfer service is great to share bills or pay friends.

It is questionable whether or not these apps will actually bring in new business, however it is undoubtedly a great service to provide their existing clients and increase customer retention/satisfaction.

Honorable Mentions go out to RBC for their mobile site. Even though this site is not elaborate, it does the job.  Better than this is Scotia Bank with both an iPhone and Blackberry app (no banking features).

Special thanks to @krusk for the screenshots of the CIBC banking app.