Cellphones overtake PCs for e-banking in SA - TechCentral

Cellphones overtake PCs for e-banking in SA

Arthur Goldstuck

The number of people banking from their cellphones has exceeded the number banking from their PCs in SA, with more than a quarter of bank customers turning to their cellphones for services ranging from informational transaction types such as balance enquiries to financial transaction types which include account payments.

This is a key finding of the consumer phase of the Mobility 2009 research project conducted by research firm World Wide Worx.

The Mobility 2009 study is being conducted in four phases, with the first three looking at the use of mobile technologies by small and medium enterprises (SMEs), consumers and corporations, and the final phase exploring the mobile Internet.

In the second phase, the detailed results of which were announced on Tuesday, it was revealed that, though 16% of SA banking customers use the Internet for banking, 28% use their cellphones. About a third of banking customers use one or both of these channels.

Outside of the branch and ATMs, only 6% relying exclusively on the Internet, while 18% rely only on cellphone banking.

The study revealed that the main services driving cellphone banking were balance enquiries and notifications of transactions, with three quarters of cellphone bankers using these features. Just under half view statements on their cellphones, 35% transfer between accounts, and 28% pay accounts on their cellphones. In contrast, only 8% add beneficiaries via the cellphone, indicating both security concerns and set-up issues.

“Our research shows that South Africans are becoming comfortable with cellphone banking, but precisely half of general banking customers are still nervous of it, citing trust as their major concern,” says Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx.  “However, this concern must be seen in the light of 34% also saying the issue is not knowing how to use the service.”

The study also shows purchasing via the cellphone beginning to take off, with 24% of cellphone banking customers purchasing prepaid electricity and 21% making general purchases like movie tickets and flowers. Purchase of airtime still leads the way here, accounting for 61% of cellphone banking users.

Mobility 2009 included research among 1 000 consumers in metropolitan areas, 1 000 SMEs and 240 large enterprises in SA.  — Staff reporter, TechCentral

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