Wed, December 01, 2021


69% of Thais prefer using digital channels for banking communication during hardship: FICO survey

A recent survey by global analytics software firm FICO has shown that 69 per cent of Thais prefer to use digital channels to engage with their banks during a time of 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 develop their offerings.

The high level of smartphone penetration in Thailand means that 44 per cent of Thais preferred to communicate via their mobile banking apps; 14 per cent used Internet banking; 6 per cent wanted to use virtual conference technology; 3 per cent preferred telebanking and only 2 per cent communicated via email.

“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 the 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 personalisation and improved decision making is key to making digital banking a success,” he said.

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

“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, 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,” Sharma explained.

Importance of maintaining banking relationships

Banks still have a data and relationship advantage when compared to fintech challengers.

The survey revealed that across the Asia Pacific, one in three consumers preferred to have all their banking needs serviced by one bank. In Thailand this was higher, at 35 percent, with a further 40 per cent saying 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, 38 per cent of Thais said they were inclined to consider a competitor, and a further 40 per cent were open to the idea.

Most appealing reasons to switch banks

When asked about the reasons they would make the switch to a competitor, 50 per cent of Thais said their number one reason would be to secure improved personalisation and controls in their digital banking services. The poll defined this as the ability to view transaction history, update personal details, reset passwords and other such functions. Interestingly, personalisation and control was also the top reason by 31 per cent for switching across the Asia Pacific.

Other top switching drivers across the 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 carried out by an independent research company. The countries surveyed were Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Published : March 11, 2021

By : The Nation