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Apathy puts brakes on Malaysian mobile banking: BuzzCity interview

AvantiKumar | May 20, 2014
BuzzCity's latest quarterly survey shows that apathy, rather than security concerns, is hampering mobile banking adoption, said BuzzCity Founder & CEO Dr KF Lai.

According to global mobile advertising network BuzzCity latest quarterly mobile internet report, the adoption of mobile banking is hampered by indifference. Those surveyed simply do not feel that they 'need' mobile banking yet and the 'underbanked' now make up 12 percent of mobile users, BuzzCity's founder and chief executive officer Dr KF Lai told Computerworld Malaysia.

Indifference, more than anxiety, is now the bigger threat to the growth of mobile banking, said Dr Lai. Value added services helped mobile advertising in Malaysia to grow by 8 percent in the first quarter of 2014.

In conjunction with this, the adoption of mobile banking also increased as 27 percent of adults who use the mobile internet now find mobile banking 'easy and useful' compared to 21 percent last year.  There is, however, apathy amongst potential users, with almost a third of those surveyed (32 percent) simply not feeling that they 'need' mobile banking.

This, despite the suggestion that security fears seem to be reduced; 24 percent of those surveyed this quarter won't mobile bank because of security fears -  a significant improvement from 2013 when 29 percent felt concerned about security issues.

The BuzzCity mobile banking research was conducted in March 2014 amongst 6000 adults in 20 benchmark countries.

Dr KF Lai, BuzzCity founder and CEO modified 

Photo - Dr KF Lai, Founder & CEO, BuzzCity. 

 

What would you say are the reasons behind this apparent apathy from banking customers in Malaysian and what can be done to educate them?

Electronic payment systems are not new but have gained popularity thanks to increased Internet shopping. Credit, debit and prepaid cards are the most common forms of electronic payments that consumers are likely to use.  With new technologies, the variety of devices used to transact electronically continues to increase.  Really, there are many means of electronic transactions that the consumer can choose from and payments via mobile are a new addition to a broad range of electronic tools. Today, for many credit cards are the 'fallback' to cash.

The financial services industry will need to think about other factors that affect responses to their campaigns as 14 percent feel that they need to "be offered" from their banks. Parallel with this is consumers confusion; 11 percent feel mobile banking is too complicated or unreliable (10 percent) and many aren't aware if their devices can even be used to activate the service.

Other stakeholders such as government agencies and security vendors also need to play a role of course as all parties have a responsibility to educate consumers.

But education itself is a continuous process and this takes time. Businesses, however, have an 'urgency' driven by their bottom lines to use alternate channels to reach more customers in a cost efficient way - this invariably means using mobiles as a key element in their business strategy.  

As mentioned, banks too are doing their part to some extent across Southeast Asia, are they are now running marketing campaigns across all channels to promote applications that support mobile banking.

But the real challenge of education is to understand the evolving experience of the user, particularly the urgencies that drive them to remain connected via mobiles.

In Malaysia, there's a still lot to do as more than half believe their banks don't provide mobile banking or simply don't know if they do.

 

 

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