Overcoming reluctance to digital banking channels

Despite a steady annual increase in the number of customers using FNB digital channels some customers are still reluctant to take advantage of digital banking channels due to certain barriers and misconceptions.

Desery Van Wyk, Head Digital Products, Digital Banking, FNB Namibia Holdings says a lot more education is needed about the benefits of Cellphone, Online and APP banking. “Once we talk to customers and show them the advantages, we found that they are much more receptive to these technological advancements. One of the primary benefits is the cost saving and convenience of being able to bank anywhere, at any time.” 

Desery unpacks some of the misconceptions and barriers that prevent some customers, from banking digitally:   

·        Lack of exposure and knowledge – given the virtual nature of digital banking channels, customers are largely uncertain as to how they work, how to access or set them up, as well as what they can do on digital channels.  The lack of exposure and knowledge requires the banking industry to drive education to empower and equip consumers to unlock the benefits of digital banking. 

·        Established behaviour - while some customers are aware of digital channels they are still more comfortable banking through branches due to the entrenched creditability and trust they have in branch agents in a face-to-face environment. However, once customers experience the convenience of being able to do their banking anywhere anytime, they don’t look back.

·        Cost – there’s a misconception that digital banking channels are expensive compared to conventional platforms. “FNB focuses on selling convenient and affordable banking. We also offer free subscription to all digital banking channels”, Desery adds. Banking via digital channels is significantly cheaper than transacting within branch and there are no travelling costs associated.

·        Fear and lack of trust in their own ability – some customers have tried using these channels but find it too difficult to navigate them at first. Many are intimidated by technology and fear, making costly mistakes when transacting. Fortunately, technological advancements have enabled banks to create checks and balances for customers so that they can easily track their money and be more in control at any hour of the day. In addition, banks have attempted to make transacting as natural as possible on these digital channels.

·        Fraud – trust is still an ongoing issue, coupled with the fear of becoming victims of fraud due to a lack of knowledge and exposure to digital banking channels. Since security and privacy are of paramount importance, FNB makes use of many security features to protect customers. These include, monitoring the device being used to ensure that it is verified. If the device is not verified, only limited services will be available. Customers transacting via Online banking may be required to authenticate the transaction on their banking APP as an additional level of security. 

·        Access – despite the smartphone penetration rate increasing, a portion of customers don’t have access to digital banking channels. Costs and access to smartphones continue to be a barrier to some consumers due to affordability. Therefore, FNB is constantly trying to innovate in this area, and empower customers to bank anywhere, anytime using the latest technology at affordable prices. 

Digital channels allow customers to bank on the go through multiple devices of their choice and immediately reduce the cost of banking. “With the world going digital, it is essential for consumers to take advantage of innovation and technology that has been designed to offer them the best value, experience and service possible,” Desery concludes.