Stiftung Warentest checked a total of 38 banking apps, including the version for Android and iOS from 19 providers.
Only four of the 19 banking apps received an overall rating of “good”, including the Sparkasse and Finanzblick online banking.
The testers did not find any security gaps against external attacks on any app. However, they criticize the data transmission behavior and the use of advertising trackers in many examined apps.
Many people use their bank’s app on their smartphone to check their account balance or transfer money. Stiftung Warentest took a closer look at 38 such banking apps – and draws a sobering conclusion.
Because of a total of 19 apps tested, only four came out with an overall rating of “good”. A “very good” was not awarded. Stiftung Warentest checked both Android and iOS for the check of the free apps, as some versions would differ in important functions.
Numbrs and Sparkasse among the test winners
The testers liked the apps from Finanzblick Onlinebanking, GLS mBank, Numbrs and Sparkasse the best. They offer convenient functions with modern technology and simple operation. Finanzblick Onlinebanking, GLS mBank and Sparkasse even received the grade “very good” for their transfer function, since it is made particularly easy for users with extras such as a photo transfer.
In addition, the four test winners are multi-bank capable, so you can access accounts from different banks there. This ability would only be offered by a third of the apps tested, since the EU directive PSD2 tightened the rules for this.
The testers rated the protection against external attacks by fraudsters as positive: the testers did not identify any security gaps in this area in any of the banking apps.
Stiftung Warentest criticizes data security and advertising trackers
However, the situation is different when it comes to data security. Stiftung Warentest criticizes that some providers use their app to collect certain information, such as the mobile phone provider or the type of smartphone. This would allow conclusions to be drawn about the customer, such as their age or earnings, and a profile could be created to target advertising. For example, Telekom customers are considered to be particularly solvent because their mobile phone contracts are more expensive than those of discounters. The testers contested the data transmission behavior of eight Android and eleven iOS versions of the banking apps, including the test winner Numbrs.
The Neobank N26 also attracted negative attention because the iOS app uses a total of six advertising trackers. Other tested banking apps also use tracking tools to target advertising. They are even more common in the iOS version than in Android. The testers explain this by the fact that Apple customers are considered financially strong and particularly active users of financial transactions. This makes them an attractive target group for advertising.
The Revolut app performed the worst with an overall rating of “sufficient” in the test. The use is not comfortable, there are also very clear shortcomings in the terms and conditions and the data protection declaration. Because these documents are only available in English. “However, we expect that an app for the German market will present important contractual terms in a way that is easy to understand,” said the testers.
The complete test results from Stiftung Warentest can be found here.