FICO Survey: 70% of Australians Prefer to Use Digital Channels to Engage with their Bank During Financial Hardship

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Appeal of in-person branch banking fading fast post pandemic

SYDNEY, March 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ —

Preferred banking customer touchpoints across APAC in December 2020
Preferred banking customer touchpoints across APAC in December 2020

Highlights:

  • 70 percent of Australian consumers prefer to use digital channels to engage with their bank during financial hardship.
  • 24 percent of Australians prefer to communicate via their mobile banking app; 19 percent use internet banking.
  • 28 percent of Australians prefer to deal with just one primary bank with a further 44 percent saying that they ‘somewhat agreed’ this was their preference.

A recent survey by global analytics software firm FICO has revealed that 70 percent of Australian consumers prefer to use digital channels to engage with their bank during financial hardship. The poll conducted in December 2020, during the height of the global COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrates the willingness of consumers to embrace digital banking and the opportunities that exist for banks to further develop their offering.

More information: https://www.fico.com/en/latest-thinking/market-research/advancing-new-experiences-digital-banking

The high level of smartphone penetration in Australia meant that 24 percent of Australians preferred to communicate about hardship via their mobile banking app; 19 percent used internet banking; 15 percent preferred telebanking; 8 percent communicated via email and 3 percent wanted to use virtual conference technology.

“The risk of infection and social distancing requirements made branch visits less appealing last year, accelerating a shift to digital banking channels globally,” said Aashish Sharma, risk lifecycle and decision management lead for FICO in Asia Pacific. “Being able to deliver and manage numerous channels in line with customer preference and deliver a seamless and engaging experience is a challenge that is here to stay. Investment in customer management and communication tools that span these channels and product silos and can deliver personalization and improved decision making is key to making digital banking a success.”

Customer attitudes to new technology from banks such as debt collection automation can yield some interesting preferences and behaviors.

“It is worth noting that during periods of hardship, some customers prefer to deal with the issue using intelligent, automated online services, such  as  our FICO® Customer Communication Services (CCS) so as to avoid the embarrassment of talking to an agent about outstanding loans. If customers prefer digital channels during times of hardship, their most difficult time, it seems to me we can expect branch banking to continue its decline,” explained Sharma.

Importance of maintaining banking relationships

Banks still have a data and relationship advantage when compared to fintech challengers. The survey revealed that across Asia Pacific, one in three consumers preferred to have all their banking needs serviced by one bank. In Australia this was slightly lower at 28 percent, with a further 44 percent saying that they ‘somewhat agreed’ they would like to deal with just one primary bank.

“Managing multiple bank accounts or finance products with different lenders can often be a complex, time-consuming and costly process for the average banking customer,” said Sharma. “Digital banking users today are looking for greater control and visibility of their financial position.”

When asked about their willingness to try a fintech or challenger bank, 17 percent of Australians said that they were inclined to consider a competitor with a further 32 percent relatively open to the idea.

“To consolidate and strengthen main bank engagement, lenders need to offer digital banking features that compete with the challengers to ensure the stickiness and viability of long-term customer relationships,” added Sharma.

Most appealing reasons to switch banks

When asked about the reasons they would make the switch to a competitor, 23 percent of Australian consumers said their number one reason would be to secure improved personalization and controls in their digital banking service. The poll defined this as the ability to view transaction history, update personal details, reset passwords and other such functions. Interestingly, personalization and control was also the top reason for switching across Asia Pacific (31%).

Other top switching drivers across Asia Pacific were; the ability to control a payment card (set transaction limits, lock/unlock); the ability to set up recurring payments; and improved security features such as biometrics and two-factor authentication.

FICO’s Advancing New Experiences in Digital Banking survey was conducted in December 2020 using an online, quantitative poll of 5,000 consumers across ten countries and regions carried out on behalf of FICO by an independent research company. The countries and regions surveyed were Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

About FICO

FICO (NYSE: FICO) powers decisions that help people and businesses around the world prosper. Founded in 1956 and based in Silicon Valley, the company is a pioneer in the use of predictive analytics and data science to improve operational decisions. FICO holds more than 195 US and foreign patents on technologies that increase profitability, customer satisfaction and growth for businesses in financial services, manufacturing, telecommunications, health care, retail and many other industries. Using FICO solutions, businesses in more than 120 countries do everything from protecting 2.6 billion payment cards from fraud, to helping people get credit, to ensuring that millions of airplanes and rental cars are in the right place at the right time.

Learn more at www.fico.com.

Join the conversation on Twitter at @FICOnews_APAC.

FICO is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the US and other countries  

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