FNB came out tops as South Africa's best digital bank with the best mobile banking and best internet banking, according to the latest annual SITEisfaction report by insights agency Columinate.
FNB narrowly beat Capticec for the top spot.
Launched in 2012, Columinate’s SITEisfaction survey is an annual measure of customer satisfaction with digital banking services in South Africa and rates each banking institution with a SITEisfaction score out of a possible 100. The report reveals the behaviours and experiences of the banks’ online customers.
The report found that FNB took top spot not so much because of customers' rising satisfaction levels with the bank, as a decline in satisfaction levels among customers of Capitec.
"This declining three-year trend may cost Capitec its reputation as a disruptor and is likely due to Capitec’s customers 'punishing' the bank for the platform’s frequent unavailability," states the report.
Capitec, however, still outperformed Nedbank, Standard Bank and Absa by a large margin.
"This is a critical lesson for new entrants such as Tyme, Bank Zero and Discovery to ensure they create a stable infrastructure, with little to no breaks in service or platform interruptions," states the report.
"Customers’ satisfaction with their primary bank's total banking experience has steadily and significantly been improving over the course of the last seven years."
However, the SITEisfaction score for overall internet banking solutions has not enjoyed a similar improvement and continues to lag behind with a meagre 10-point rise from 54 in 2012 to 64 in 2018.
FNB claimed the top honours in the Internet Banking category, even though its customers scored the bank slightly lower this year (75 in 2018, down from 78 in 2017). The win can largely be attributed to the consistent good experience across all FNB’s digital channels but is also partially due to Capitec’s sporadic platform inaccessibility.
Capitec marked a greater decline in Internet Banking satisfaction due to this intermittent unavailability, dropping from 78 in 2017 to 70 in 2018.
"Bronze medallist" Nedbank (51 in 2017 vs 60 in 2018), followed by Standard Bank (51 in 2017 vs 55 in 2018) and Absa (44 in 2017 vs 48 in 2018) all showed improvement, with Nedbank and Absa receiving its highest scores in the category to date.
Absa has also shown the greatest improvement curve with its customers’ satisfaction levels consistently growing over the course of the last three years.
Standard Bank still has a way to go, according to the report, to return to its former glory of 66 back in 2015, when it was propelled to second place after launching its new Internet Banking site - now three years old. Standard Bank is still toggling between the two platforms, which may further explain its unchanging score.
“It is worth noting that the rise in Internet Banking SITEisfaction scores are driven predominantly by secondary users, those who use these platforms in addition to another bank’s platform, as primary users report little change,” explains Columinate’s co-founder and CEO, Dr Henk Pretorius.
“Secondary users will inevitably have a greater impact on the score because they’ve had the opportunity to compare site layouts, functionality, products, and services. The greater degree of competition is excellent for the industry as it assists the banks in developing more comprehensive products and services, as well as creating more intuitive and secure user-interfaces for their various service portals. But the converse is also true: banks can no longer create products and services in isolation – their customers know what’s on offer elsewhere.”
Best mobile bank
The category for Best Mobile Bank looks at all the mobile banking solutions banks offer, from mobile applications to mobi-sites for both mobile phones and tablets.
FNB scored two points higher in this year’s SITEisfaction study, netting it 82 to top the charts. Capitec suffered a minor setback, scoring three points less this year, but still putting up what is regarded as a very respectable 80.
Standard Bank and Nedbank showed virtually no movement, both scoring 70 points, while Absa suffered a two-point loss, trailing the field with 63 points.
While FNB’s tablet app is rated the best application in the tablet category, it must share the top spot with Capitec for Best Smartphone App.
“It makes sense for the banks to focus on creating a secure, well-rounded service offering through their mobile banking applications,” says Pretorius.
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