Why South African’s Love to Hate Online Banking Apps

2 Oct

There’s always an element of risk involved when making use of any online services and applications. It is this risk that’s holding South African’s back from truly capitalising on the benefits of digital advancements, particularly in the banking and finance industry.

No one can really be blamed for the hesitance to make use of online banking apps. With hacking, identity theft and online fraud recurrent problems in the country, it stands to reason that the average South African would rather not take the risk.

Don’t be intimidated by digital banking

The fact of the matter is that online banking apps, when correctly implemented and maintained, are more often than not, beneficial to the end user (yes, that’s you).

In order for the banking industry to ensure that more people start making use of their dedicated and secure solutions, they have to understand why banking apps are so disliked in the country.

It largely comes down to misconception about the apps themselves. Below are the top 6 reasons why:

  • Intimidated by technology – those who don’t have much experience with digital technology often don’t feel confident in their ability to complete transactions correctly without making mistakes or getting confused.
  • Lack of education surrounding the service – online banking apps are virtual by nature and this seems to scare people off as they are unfamiliar with the apps, they don’t know how to access them correctly, how to set them up or just how much they can do with them.
  • Conservative trust in traditional banking methods – people have been doing their banking within established branches for many years. This has developed a level of trust between the bank and the customer. It’s proven difficult to draw people away from their long standing established banking behaviours.
  • Misconceived costs – many people simply assume that banking digitally will cost more, when in actual fact, it generally costs less. Customers don’t have to travel anywhere to complete transactions and because data costs are dropping, online transactions are significantly cheaper making a transaction within the branch.
  • Fear of fraud and the unknown – many long term bank customers fear the online world, which doesn’t come as a surprise with online fraud and identity theft seemingly always on the rise. Leading banking institutions must take responsibility to implement a number of security features to protect the customer, and most of them already do.
  • Lack of access – while you might think that the vast majority of the population has access to a smartphone, many individuals claim that they avoid online banking apps as they don’t have access to the correct mobile channels. Perhaps it’s a case of lack of data or simply having the wrong handset / mobile device.

According to Ryan Prozesky, CEO of Value Banking Solutions at FNB, it all comes down to educating the public and reassuring them that their best interests are being protected. He stated the following: “When engaging customers about the benefits of cellphone, online and app banking, we found that once they understand the benefits and trial digital banking, they are much more receptive to these technological advancements.”

Prozeksy also urges individuals to take advantage of the innovation and technology that has been made readily available to them.

It’s astounding how far technology has come over the years. While there is risk involved, as long as you understand the security measures that have been put in place, there is also a great deal of positive too.


Do you make use of banking apps? Which online apps do you find most useful. If you don’t use online banking apps, let us know why! Share your thoughts.

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