JOHANNESBURG: 07 MAY 2015 – Specialist online marketing research agency, Columinate, today released its fourth annual Internet Banking SITEisfaction® survey. Launched in 2012, the survey is a measure of customer satisfaction with online banking services in South Africa and the significant changes the banks are undergoing. The report is the only one of its kind to focus exclusively on internet banking and is viewed by the industry as a key feedback tool for the banks evaluated as it reveals the behaviours and experiences of their online customers.

The study has put questions to over 5000 internet banking users, focusing on the trends that shape the digital banking industry.  Chief Executive of Columinate, Dr. Henk Pretorius, comments on this year’s findings as “largely positive”, while cautioning that “the widespread nature of fraud evident in the results taints this picture somewhat”.

As an industry, banks have succeeded in providing a better online experience than ever before. The industry SITEisfaction online banking score has increased steadily in the last four years, achieving 61 (out of a possible 100), the highest rating yet. In this same time the overall banking experience score amongst internet bankers has remained stable at 64 (out of 100). “What this shows is how internet banking has improved over the last four years. Before this year, the gap between general banking satisfaction and internet banking experience meant that, on the whole, internet banking detracted from the experience of banked consumers. This year has seen the gap almost disappear, which is a compliment to banks’ efforts in the digital space,” comments Pretorius.

The 2015 Winner

Despite the positive overall trend, some banks are clearly performing better than others. FNB has emerged as the top internet banking service provider, with Standard Bank in second place. This is the third year that FNB has come out on top, matching the highest ever score in this survey of 75 (max 100), same score as 2013. Standard Bank’s large improvement (10 points since last year to 66) earns it the title of fastest riser in this year’s survey. This is the highest ever rating for Standard Bank in this survey. Capitec (62) has fallen into third position, while Nedbank (50) and ABSA (39) remain fixed for the fourth year running in the lowest two positions.

“The success of both FNB and Standard Bank relate to recent significant redesigns of their internet banking facilities. Last year FNB lost its top position to Capitec after making changes to the banking website. There was a noticeable slump in users’ experience, because the changes meant experienced users suddenly had to search for features they used frequently. This adjustment period seems to have passed after more than a year on the new system, and users’ opinions have put them back at number one. Standard Bank’s revamp of its site happened much more recently, and their focus on ease of use, and retaining a similar architecture as before, has meant that its users had to make less of an adjustment.”

Insights

This year’s findings show the importance that users attach to ease of banking across multiple devices. Amongst bankers who make use of the traditional internet banking website, the favoured combination to access accounts is computer and cell phone (38%), followed by computer, cell phone and tablet (30%), with a smaller proportion using a computer only (24%).

“It is incredible to see how far we’ve progressed away from basic banking only on these platforms. Many of the new features added to internet banking facilities have nothing to do with traditional transactional banking. For example, amongst FNB customers the second most highly utilised feature is buying airtime (79%), while buying data is the fifth most common activity (69%). Coupled with the increase in device used, it is clear that the theme of more ways to do more things has strengthened since last year,” he commented.

Financial management tools finally gain traction

Personal financial management tools help consumers better control their finances, often by integrating information from internet banking statements. Until this year, the awareness and usage of these services was very low amongst internet bankers in this survey. This year has seen an increase in both people aware of these facilities (30% in 2015 vs. 14% in 2014) and in the incidence of those who use them (9% in 2015 vs. 2% in 2014).

“There seems to have been a lag between the availability of these services and their uptake that has only now started to disappear. What seems to be the likely reason for this is the increase in the number of these services and the credibility of the brands that maintain them. While both Old Mutual’s 22seven and Nedbank’s Personal Money Manager have been around for several years, new services like Momentum’s Financial Wellness were only launched in the last 18 months. Investments by companies such as these have now started to pay off,” says Pretorius.

Security concerns remain 

The generally positive findings of the report are somewhat offset by the continued rise in digital banking crimes. In 2014 there was a large increase in the number of attempted and successful fraud attempts in this area. The 2015 survey has shown only a slight decline in this trend. The number of people targeted for any type of fraud is at 55% (62% in 2014), while 12% (19% in 2014) fell victim to a successful attempt, and incurred some sort of financial loss.

Focus on mobile banking

There are currently four ways that banking consumers can access accounts via devices other than computers by using tablets and mobile phones and accessing either via mobile browsers or apps. This year’s survey assessed how satisfied users were with their bank’s mobile facilities. FNB came up tops with the highest scores across all mobile platforms, scoring 77 out of a 100, with Capitec in second place (71), Standard Bank in third (68). ABSA (62) and Nedbank (61) achieved the lowest ratings.

“It is interesting that the top three places in mobile and tablet banking are again taken up by the same banks, with FNB still on top. For ABSA and Nedbank they also retain the last two positions. Collectively, this shows how a comprehensive digital strategy should account for access across all devices, especially considering how mobile and tablet access is increasing,” concludes Pretorius

 

About the survey: Since 2012 Columinate has surveyed a representative sample of internet banking users from the five main South African consumer banks. The annual sample for the survey for 2015 was 1303.  For more information on purchasing the report, please contact Columinate.