While many South African banking customers are taking advantage of the ease and convenience of internet banking to meet their basic banking requirements, most have yet to fully harness the potential of their online banking facilities.
That is according to the results of research conducted with 1353 internet banking users by online market research specialist, Columinate, aimed at assessing the internet banking habits and behaviours of users of this banking medium as well as the overall levels of satisfaction of internet banking customers with the online offerings of their banks.
Responses concerning the overall satisfaction of customers with their Internet banking offerings (‘SITEisfaction’) revealed that there is still room for improvement as the industry SITEisfaction score was an unexceptional 55.
Against this backdrop, FNB scored best on the SITEisfaction index with a score of 68. While Capitec’s SITEisfaction score (70) actually trumped FNB’s, 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.
That said, Henk Pretorius, co-founder and Senior Research Specialist at Columinate, points to Capitec’s top score as a clear indicator that the bank is worth watching as a “rising star” amongst South Africa’s internet banking solution providers.
The research also looked at internet banking behaviours to contextualise the SITEisfaction scores and some interesting findings emerged. The research found that basic transactional and non-transactional activities top the list of typical uses of internet banking channels, with 88% of respondents indicating that they use internet banking mainly for viewing balances and making beneficiary payments.
Accessing bank statements (72%), making inter-account transfers (66%), and setting up recurring beneficiary payments (53%) were the next most popular internet banking transactions.
53% of users also indicated that they use internet banking to buy their cellphone airtime, while a mere 5% of those surveyed make use of online share trading or foreign exchange services.
The survey results also provided numerous other insights into the online banking behaviours of South Africa’s internet banking customers. More than a quarter of respondents (26%) indicated that they currently operate more than one internet banking account, while 23% say they have previously used a different internet banking facility to the one they currently have.
What’s more, of all the participants surveyed, only 14% said they actually follow their banks on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Linked.
According to Pretorius, this points to a significant opportunity for South African banks to forge better digital connections with their customers via both their internet banking and social networking channels.
“The survey results show that very few internet banking customers currently utilise this electronic medium for much more than basic banking functions,” he explains, “and 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.”