Digital Content

Although South African customers now embrace Internet banking, mobile banking is still a concern. This is according to BMI-TechKnowledge analysts, who gave a South African banking briefing in Sandton on Thursday.

A recent BMI-T study found that, of SA's four million Internet users, 1.7 million use Internet banking, and about 180 000 are registered for mobile banking. However, only about a fifth of them actually use their mobile banking facilities.

“Top three choices for customers are physically going inside the bank, followed by using ATMs, and then Internet banking,” said BMI-T senior analyst, Tertia Smit.

Smit said 83% of cellphone users interviewed use their phone to SMS compared to only 4% who have used it to do mobile banking. The study also showed that 35% of respondents were unaware they could use mobile phones for banking.

“Other issues include not feeling secure about using the phone to transact, inadequate proof that the transaction has been completed, as well as difficulty in performing the banking functions with their mobile device,” said Smit.

However, Smit said certain factors could stimulate mobile banking in the future. “Some of these are higher speeds with GPRS, EDGE and 3G, improved user-friendly interfaces and functionality of devices, as well as an increase in ‘cyber-savvy' clients as the youth mature.”

She said South African banks should constantly educate customers about the benefits that come with multi-channel banking. “Some 85% of corporate businesses have also shown high levels of confidence in Internet banking and they feel secure enough to perform transactions online,” said BMI-T banking division principal analyst Althea Bacchialoni.

“Hacking is a security concern for big corporate companies but the banks' rapid response to attempts, such as the recent ‘phishing' attacks that targeted local bank customers, has helped their confidence in banks,” she said.