First National Bank is the top Internet banking service provider. This is according to online marketing research agency Columinate.
The bank topped the poll with 75 out of a possible 100 points. Standard Bank stormed into second place, with an increase of 10 points to 66.
Columinate CEO Henk Pretorius says there is a clear shift evident in this year’s study. “[The survey] is not just about online banking that focuses on traditional websites, but also on mobile, including tablets and smartphones.”
This is the fourth annual “Internet Banking SITEisfaction” survey from Columinate.
“FNB, which is not the biggest bank, has more Internet banking customers than Absa, which has more customers overall,” says Pretorius.
He says that 2,3 million out of 25m bank customers in South Africa use internet banking.
Capitec (62/100) is placed in third place, with Nedbank (50) and Absa (39) next.
“The success of both FNB and Standard Bank relate to recent significant redesigns of their Internet banking facilities,” says Pretorius.
“Last year, FNB lost its top position to Capitec after making changes to its 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.”
Pretorius says Standard Bank’s website redesign has helped improve customer satisfaction. “The revamp of its site happened much more recently, and its focus on ease of use, and retaining a similar architecture as before, has meant that its users had to make less of an adjustment,” he says.
“Traditionally, the online banking experience detracted from primary banking satisfaction. This has changed as the Internet banking experience has improved.”
Ease of use, trust and communication are some of the factors that affect a customer’s satisfaction levels with banks. Other factors include reasonable banking fees, innovation, an improvement in customer service, device flexibility (the ability to conduct Internet banking from any device) and no interruptions when banking.
Capitec witnessed a big decrease in its placing this year as its premise has been that it affords simpler and more affordable Internet banking. However, FNB and Standard Bank were able to provide greater functionality and offer more innovation to clients. A lack of innovation also affected Capitec, which only recently launched a smartphone banking app.
FNB and Standard Bank increased their standing by offering more functionality through Internet banking. Pretorius says Standard Bank communicated its changes well. The information architecture of the site remained the same, yet functionality improved.
Pretorius says FNB has the best customer experience overall as it performs better in both traditional and Internet banking. Absa, on the other hand, is better at traditional banking than online banking.
Standard Bank customers are happier with Internet banking than traditional banking. “The last thing you want to do is be great at Internet banking, but let customers down at other levels,” says Pretorius.
Smartphone and tablet usage have increased over the past year. “One in every three users now use a tablet to access Internet banking. However, the desktop remains the primary means of accessing internet banking,” says Pretorius.
Internet banking security remains a concern for banking clients.
“Every single time banks and users think they are getting ahead, there is something new,” says Pretorius. Sim-swap fraud, keylogging, phishing and 419 scams are among the methods used to defraud customers.
A newer type of fraud is “pharming”, where users are redirected to a scammer’s preferred site, usually a fake website. Pharming can be conducted either by changing the “hosts” file on a victim’s computer or by exploitation of a vulnerability in the domain name server software.
Another finding of the survey is there has been an increase in the use of financial management tools like Old Mutual’s 22seven, Nedbank’s My Financial Life and Momentum’s Financial Wellness.
However, the use and awareness of financial management tools remains low at 9% and 30% respectively, with security remaining a key concern.
Pretorius says mobile phones and tablets “represent the next era in Internet banking”. There are two ways to access banking services through mobile — through a browser or a dedicated app. Those on mobile devices don’t only use their devices for banking but also buy airtime, data and electricity.
People trust apps more than browsers, although the security essentially remains the same, he says. — © 2015 NewsCentral Media