South Africa is yet to maximise internet banking benefits

While the take up of internet banking has been increasing significantly in South Africa, the country’s users are yet to take full advantage of the benefits that comes with banking online.

A research survey conducted by online market research firm, Columinate, found that very few Internet banking customers utilise the medium for much more than basic banking functions.

The survey also featured FNB achieving the best score (68 points) on its satisfaction index called SITEisfaction. “While Capitec’s SITEisfaction score of 70 actually trumped FNB’s, however the number of Capitec customers included in the survey did not reach the minimum sample size to be included as a contender for the position of Internet banking SITEisfaction winner. The report said Capitec is worth watching as a “rising star” amongst South Africa’s Internet banking solution providers.

The research was conducted with 1353 Internet banking users. It was aimed at assessing the Internet banking habits and behaviours of users and satisfaction levels.

Henk Pretorius, co-founder and Senior Research Specialist at Columinate, said the surevey revealed a gap in the market. Pretorius said there is a significant opportunity for South African banks to forge better digital connections with their customers.

The survey placed satisfaction of internet banking users was remarkably low.

The research found that basic transactional and non-transactional activities top the list of typical uses of Internet banking channels.

  • ·         88% of respondents indicated that they use Internet banking mainly for viewing balances and making beneficiary payments.
  • ·         72% of respondents use the medium to access bank statements, 66% make inter-account transfers and 53 for setting up recurring beneficiary payments.
  • ·         53% of users use Internet banking to buy cellphone airtime
  • ·         5% make use of online share trading or foreign exchange services.

The research found that more than a quarter of respondents operate more than one Internet banking account, while 23% said they have previously used a different Internet banking facility to the one they currently have.

The vast majority of Internet banking customers (97%) access their online facility using a their own laptop or personal computer, while only 28% of those surveyed said they used a cellphone or smartphone app to do their online banking. 14% of respondents have used a public computer to login to their Internet banking account.

While a significant number of Internet banking customers (37%) say they login to their Internet banking profiles between two and six times per week, the majority of users (85%) spend less than 20 minutes logged in to their Internet banking service. Of all the participants surveyed, only 14% said they actually follow their banks on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

“With only 24% of users saying they use their Internet banking facility to communicate with their bank, this must surely represent an opportunity for banks to find ways to better connect digitally with their customers,” said Pretorius.

Pretorius said indications were that 28% of users login to their Internet banking pages to obtain information on financial product offerings or account options. This figure drops even more when it comes to managing their bank accounts, with 27% saying they use Internet banking to apply for overdraft or withdrawal limits, 19% to issue electronic stop payment instructions, 17% to apply for a loan of any sort, and just 15% using Internet banking to manage their investment accounts online.

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