E-banking survey reveals surge in mobile banking

Online research specialists Columinate have released the results of the second annual Internet Banking SITEisfaction® survey, the most comprehensive report on customers’ usage and perceptions of e-banking in South Africa. The survey quizzed over 1 400 South African e-bankers on their online banking habits and attitudes, and revealed several interesting trends. Henk Pretorius, Columinate CEO, explains that the survey is important as it provides insights into one of the fastest changing areas of customer banking. “This year we saw big changes in the way customers approach their digital banking. The increased availability of mobile apps, wider usage of self-service features and new security concerns are a few of the changes that banks and customers have had to adapt to,” he reports.

The survey revealed that the South African e-banking landscape has in the last year seen an increase in the number of customers who use mobile phones and tablets to do their banking. Mobile phone banking, through both banking apps and phone browsers, has increased to 54% from 42% last year. E-bankers who do their banking via tablets have risen to 17% compared to 10% last year. This trend is likely to continue with Absa’s recent mobile app release, which means that the traditional “big four” banks now all offer a mobile banking app. Capitec might be missing an opportunity in this regard, with 44% of its customers indicating that they intend to use a banking app should one be made available to them.

Further findings revealed that users are not only using more devices to access their bank accounts, but they are also making use of more of the available online banking features. According to Pretorius, the results showed that aside from making payments and managing accounts, online banking users are becoming increasingly likely to log in to apply for new banking products (59%) such as loans and overdrafts. Users also showed an increased likelihood to buy airtime (60% up from 53%), data (29% up from 23%) and lottery tickets (19% up from 13%) via their online banking service.

Customer satisfaction with internet banking facilities was compared again this year using Columinate’s SITEisfaction® measure. The results revealed that FNB has stretched its lead over the competitors by attaining a SITEisfaction® score of 75, which is the highest score measured to date. Capitec has surprised again by achieving an overall second position in the ranking with a score of 62, outdoing three more established players in the process. Standard Bank and Nedbank are tied with a score of 50, whilst Absa attained the lowest score of 36. Pretorius says that FNB’s achievement is due to its ability to offer the most comprehensive service that performs on all levels. “FNB users are most likely to report that their e-banking is user-friendly, innovative and secure. FNB has also succeeded in getting users to utilise more of the available services than other banking users. This has positive implications for both the users who capitalize on the convenience of internet banking and for the bank to ensure greater customer loyalty.”

Other findings revealed that fraud remains a concern for e-bankers, with phishing attacks still the most common type of fraud. The number of users who have been a target of fraud has increased to over 50% this year, which is a worrying trend. Pretorius notes that the variety of financial fraud types has increased in recent years. “Banking customers have to contend with familiar and novel attacks on their accounts: phishing, smishing, deposit refund scams, 419 scams and so the list goes on. It’s no surprise then that awareness of the different scams differs widely. While 90% have heard of phishing, only 54% have heard of the SMS version of this scam, called ‘smishing’. This shows the difficulty in educating customers on how to be vigilant against these attacks.”

Recently, various online financial management tools have been launched locally by banks and third parties alike. The survey results revealed that awareness (11%) and usage (2%) of these services remain very low and on par with last year. Pretorius says, “The reluctance of banking users to use these services is predominantly due to security concerns, lack of clarity on protection from users’ banks if accounts are linked to the service, and low awareness of the advantages offered by these tools.”

The full report comparing the 2012 and 2013 data is available from Columinate. Please contact info@columinate.com for more information. An infographic highlights the main findings from this report.

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