Demand for Real Bank Apps Outpaces Virtual Bank Apps in 2022

Ariel Ariel
Sep. 2

This is a single insight from This Week in Apps #129 - Twitter's Finally Growing (its Revenue). Check out the full article for more insights.

Apps from Bank get downloads. Quite a few downloads. Growth wasn't amazing, but it was certainly stable. And then came virtual banks and many thought they'd quickly and easily take over.

After all, who wants to go to the bank, right?


I was curious to see how downloads of traditional bank apps compare to those of virtual banks over the last few years, so I rounded up the most downloaded apps from both categories and tracked them over time.

The trend surprised me a bit!

But first, the groups. For traditional banks, I aggregated downloads for Chase, Citi bank, Wells Fargo, Capital One, and bank of America. The most popular bank apps in the US. The virtual banks consist of Chime, Varo, Sable, and Current. The most downloaded in their category.

Both categories have seen little growth before 2022. There was some, but not much.

In 2020, downloads of traditional bank apps were stagnant, averaging 2.8 million downloads every month, according to our estimates. There was some fluctuation, but only minimal. 2021 was a bit more active and downloads grew about 15%. Better than 2020, but nothing like the growth they've seen in 2022!

Virtual banks, which you'd expect to grow faster, did, but only kind of. Downloads of the virtual group grew in 2020 but remained stagnant in 2021.

Traditional bank apps have been in high demand in 2022, however. The collection, led by Chase, grew 45% so far this year, and we're just a little more than halfway through. At the same time, virtual bank downloads dipped, losing about 13% of monthly downloads since the beginning of the year.

I like to end on an IRL example, and this, although not as intuitive as some others, is a good example that people do want to go to the bank. Or is it that they want to know a real bank exists? Either way, they want it, and that's going to be hard to compete with.

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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.

Tagged: #business

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