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Hong Kong prefers portable bank account number

Anuradha Shukla | March 1, 2013
Customers want to switch banks without changing account details.

Seventy-five percent of customers in Hong Kong prefer a portable bank account number, according to an online YouGov study conducted by BT.

The majority of the consumers in the city agree that a portable identity number will let them switch banks without having to change their account details.

Findings of YouGov study are based on a survey of more than 6,500 people across six countries worldwide, and the many consumers in these countries think that a shared IT infrastructure for banks was a good idea.

Seventy-six percent of customers in Spain, 64 percent in France, 61 percent in Germany and 62 percent in UK agree that it is very convenient to have a portable identity number.

"There is clearly an appetite for technology and services which help increase transparency and competition, such as number portability and richer online comparison tools," said Tom Regent, president, global banking and financial markets, BT Global Services. "But there is also a significant level of apprehension around the creation of a shared banking infrastructure." 

Customers are cautious about using alternative payments, such as Facebook Credits and virtual wallets but 43 percent respondents from Hong Kong and 36 percent from Spain were the most likely to try alternative payment methods in the next 18 months.

Consumers need reassurance

Although consumers in these countries are eager to use portable account numbers, they need reassurance about security and protection of their data. 

Thirty-eight percent of the respondents said that banks sharing infrastructure would be a bad idea while 28 percent were undecided about using this concept.

Thirty-two percent of customers said they want to see more sophisticated online tools such as peer review sections.

Twenty-three percent want webchat facilities and 29 percent want 'compare-my-bank' type services.

Thirty-nine percent said they would consider moving if the bank offers good online banking facilities. Presence of a local branch (45 percent) and the ability to access banking services 24x7 (29 percent) are also very important while considering switching banks.

"Banks are increasingly focused on providing services via smartphones and tablet devices in order to keep pace with digital changes and innovation," added Regent. "While this is an important strategy, banks must be careful not to lose sight of the need for human contact in either the branch or via a local call centre agent. Our research shows that these continue to be customers' most trusted and preferred channels."


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