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Capitec’s no-frills banking may count against it online

Survey shows that functionality is an important part of internet banking.

JOHANNESBURG – Capitec gave up the top spot in a recent internet banking satisfaction survey, suggesting that its customers may have tired of its simple offering relative to the online functionality offered by other banks.

“Capitec is slightly stuck in the mind-set of being simple and affordable, while other banks are continuously adding services [to their online banking],” commented Dr Henk Pretorius, CEO of Columinate, an online marketing research agency.

Columinate has surveyed 6 500 people since it launched its annual Internet Banking SITEisfaction survey in 2012. This year more than 1 300 people participated in the online banking survey, with an additional 1 400 individuals surveyed in a separate mobile and tablet banking study.

The sample sizes for all banks included in the survey – Absa, Capitec, FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank – exceeded 250. “We consider this a minimum acceptable sample size to deliver robust findings,” Pretorius told journalists on Thursday. 

FNB reclaims top spot

After briefly surrendering the top spot to Capitec last year, FNB is once again at the top of the rankings in terms of customer satisfaction with its online banking.

In a surprise move, Standard Bank came in second and was 2015’s fastest riser. The bank has enjoyed a consistent climb in its Internet banking satisfaction score.

Absa was once again at the bottom of the pile.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 12.31.19 PM

Source: Columinate

“We have listened to our customers and have committed R3 billion in targeted investments to make it easier for customers to bank with us. This includes enhancing and stabilising our IT Infrastructure and launching new technologies like our Home Owners App… and Features Store,” commented Marius de la Rey, head of distribution at Barclays Africa.

“The success of both FNB and Standard Bank relate to recent significant redesigns of their internet banking facilities,” Pretorius said.

FNB, however, lost the top position to Capitec last year after failing to communicate effectively on fairly significant changes made to its website in December 2013, which saw regular users struggling to find frequently used features, noted Pretorius. 

“Standard Bank’s revamp of its site happened much more recently, and their 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 said, adding that Standard Bank also did an excellent job of communicating the changes to customers at every touch point before and after the change.

After last year’s survey, Pretorius attributed Capitec’s coming first to its simple and affordable e-banking experience. This year, however, it appears that a more comprehensive offering is the order of the day, with Capitec scoring very poorly on the functionality metric.

More than a quarter of respondents use 15 or more features offered by their online banking platform, up from 14% last year. “Banks need to be able to offer these features in order to compete against other banks that offer this,” Pretorius said, noting this also presented opportunities for upselling.

Columinate also surveyed users who had more than one bank account, with FNB maintaining its number one position in this survey too. “One of the unique features of the South African market is that it is a multi-banked market, 72% of people have more than one bank account,” Pretorius remarked.

Mobile continues to gain traction

An important insight that emerged from the survey was that multiple device use is now a common scenario among customers. “Having a good experience via one channel doesn’t mean that you can let customers down on another channel. Expanding features on mobile devices to more closely resemble online offerings is important,” Pretorius said.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 12.55.22 PM

Source: Columinate

Interestingly, the survey also found that trust was higher for tablet and mobile apps than it was for desktop access. “These apps feel more secure to users because they sit locally on their devices, even though they are also connected to the Internet and the encryption by the bank is the same,” Pretorius said.

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I do not agree with this survey. I do online banking with FNB and Capitec while my wife has Standard Bank online. With prepaid electricity Standard Bank online service is off most of the time not to even talk about the embarrassing moments at the end of each month when you can’t pay at the supermarket with your Standard Bank debit card. Standard is the worst bank ever. At FNB and Capitec we do not have these problems.

I’m with Standard Bank and their site is garbage! You have to scroll down so often to do anything. It’s full of white space. Even when you reduce the font size to minute, you still end up having to scroll down. It times out after a minute of inactivity. You keep having to tell the site how many lines you want to see when viewing your statement – why can’t it remember what you set it to previously? And it all depends on when you need it most – that’s when you can be sure it is down or unresponsive or slowwwwww. It’s obvious no customers were ever asked to test the site for ease of use! “Focus on ease of use” – what utter garbage!

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