Mobile Banking Apps
In 2021, more customers preferred mobile banking as a transaction channel (at 58.4 percent) compared to a preference of 52 percent recorded in 2020. [Photo/ Courtesy]

Mobile apps topped bank customers’ preferences in2021, reinforcing a sustained uptake of contactless banking solutions that gained fresh traction in 2020 following the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey (2021), the preference for Apps was driven by the introduction of versatile banking software by various financial service providers, taking over functions that were previously conducted via mobile and Internet banking platforms.

The survey, which analyses feedback from close to 30,000 respondents, shows that digital banking features such as mobile banking and Internet banking also ranked highly among bank clients’ favorites at 25 percent and 11 percent respectively. The findings further point to increasing digital preferences to expanding internet penetration and access to internet-enabled devices, which have given bank clients additional transaction options.

In 2021, more customers preferred mobile banking as a transaction channel (at 58.4 percent) compared to a preference of 52 percent recorded in 2020.

“The increase may be attributed to the challenges introduced by the pandemic and its containment measures, which have entrenched the use of contactless banking services,’’ the survey notes, adding that preference for ATM channels reduced from 12 percent in 2020 to 9.7 percent in 2021. However, the proportion of customers that continued to use bank branches remained unchanged, at seven percent, in both 2020 and 2021.

On customer support, most respondents (46.4 percent) preferred human-assisted services as the best channel for complaint resolution. The trend shows that while there is a general increase in preference for automated transactions, human contact is still largely preferred by bank clients in customer service support.

The survey also shows that most Kenyans are multi-banked, with at least eight out of 10 bank customers (62 percent) having two to three bank accounts compared to the 2020 rate of 77 percent. The findings attribute the decline to reduced economic activity in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which triggered consolidations of funds by bank customers to reduce costs associated with maintaining many bank accounts.

The proportion of Customers with Disabilities remained largely unchanged in 2021 compared to 2020 with 3.4 percent of respondents in 2021 indicating they had a disability. This compares with the three percent rate recorded in 2020. In the survey, 78.1 percent of the clients were able to access banking services independently.

Nearly all respondents( 96 percent) indicated that banks have generally maintained high service standards despite challenges occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic. The rating improved slightly from 92 percent reported in 2020.

Speaking during a virtual release of the survey findings, KBA Chief Executive Officer Dr Habil Olaka noted that the banking industry has continued to work closely with various stakeholders to facilitate further inclusion particularly vulnerable groups such as Persons with Disabilities.

“From the 2021 Customer Satisfaction Survey, I am happy to note that 78 percent of this important segment of bank customers were able to independently access banking services. I challenge our member banks to institute measures towards enabling the remaining percentage to independently access financial services,’’ said Dr Olaka.

The survey respondents ranked Family Bank as the best overall bank in digital experience, followed by Standard Chartered Bank and Equity Bank respectively. In the Tier I category, Standard Chartered Bank took the top position, followed by Equity Bank and NCBA Bank in position three.

Meanwhile, Family Bank emerged best in the Tier II category with Prime Bank and HFC Bank taking the second and third positions respectively. ABC Bank topped in the Tier III category while Sidian and Gulf African Bank took the second and third positions, respectively.

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