“Technology on its own will not drive service use. Choosing the right technology will influence adoption trends, allowing for a large target market reach,” said Dione Sankar, Chief Operations Officer of FNB Cellphone Banking Solutions, speaking at the Banking Channel Management Conference held yesterday at the Indaba Hotel, in Fourways.
Simplicity, ease of use, safety and convenience are key drivers of growth in service adoption. User experience is also a key driver of service adoption but should not be clouded with complex processes which will eventually deter long term service usage.
According to Sankar, “FNB Cellphone Banking was launched with a technology bearer called Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), which is a protocol used by GSM cellular telephones. We introduced the right technology at the right time which allowed rapid user adoption. No configuration or setup was required to use the service. However, with the growth of feature phones we then introduced our WAP offering and are beginning to see excellent uptake with over 700k visits to the FNB.mobi site monthly.”
“Our Cellphone Banking value proposition is appealing from both the technology and value point of view. Adoption has been rapid because the service is designed with our customers in mind. Customers expect to be able to bank anywhere, at anytime and in order to ensure that our customers are provided with the best possible experience, innovation plays a vital role,” said Sankar.
Using this strategy the bank has managed to stay ahead of the curve and drive growth of its Cellphone Banking service. The majority of FNB Cellphone Banking users (77%) earn up to R100K per year. The next group (22%) earn between R100K – R500K with a wealthier 1% making up the rest of the users.
Prepaid top ups and balance enquiries are popular on the channel however, mobile payments is growing.
Sankar noted that initially customers were wary of the service due to trust and security barriers; however with more than 4 million customers using the service, customers have clearly crossed those initial barriers of adoption.
Trend analyses suggest that by 2014 the global smart phone market will be dominated by open source platforms Android and Symbian, trailed by Blackberry OS, IOS Apple and Windows Mobile in that order. As technology evolves we will need to evolve our technology platforms to cater for services best rendered on these devices.”
“Looking at technology trends, there has been a mindset shift among consumers since the launch of ATMs in South Africa in the late 1970s and for business to be sustainable, continuous service innovation is required to drive adoption, and not just the introduction of new technologies,” said Sankar.