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The survey, which compiled responses from almost 400 UAE residents, revealed that 36.3 per cent of consumers prefer to access internet banking through a mobile or tablet app. However, traditional online banking proved to be the more popular option, with 42.2 per cent indicating they prefer to access internet banking through their bank's desktop site.
Undertaken in conjunction with RBBi, the survey also confirmed that at 85.29 per cent the vast majority of UAE consumers prefer online banking of any kind to visiting a branch, with over 80 per cent citing convenience as the major factor in this preference.
The statistics indicated that, although they show a large appetite for convenience when it comes to banking services, many UAE consumers are not yet sold on the merits of mobile banking versus traditional online banking conducted through a desktop website.
"The UAE's banks have done a fantastic job in bringing mobile banking services to market with a vast array of innovative banking apps. But it appears that customers still view banking as a job to be done at a 'proper' workstation, through a desktop website. This could be down to a perception that desktop banking is somehow more secure, or it could be that consumers simply don't realise that the majority of banking services are now available on mobile," said Samer Chehab, COO of compareit4me.com.
"If banks really want to attract more mobile users, our survey results indicate a need for greater education on the benefits of mobile banking. Concerns about mobile banking safety need to be addressed, and the convenience of having most banking functions available in your pocket needs to be pushed further."
The survey results indicated that UAE consumers are generally satisfied with their internet banking services, with 44.4 per cent of respondents claiming there is nothing that frustrates them about their internet banking experience. However, improvements could still be made; according to the study, 26.1 per cent said that one frustration comes with the lack of access to all information online, while 18.3 per cent said that online banking doesn't give them access to the same services as visiting a branch does.
The survey also found that the majority of users (52.5 per cent) are most likely to use internet banking for checking their account balance - something which is possible to do on both mobile and desktop online banking. Paying bills (just under 50 per cent), transferring funds between accounts (34 per cent), wiring money (27 per cent) and downloading personal bank statements (25 per cent) also featured highly on users' lists of most likely activities to complete while banking online.
"It's possible to complete all of these tasks via the mobile apps of the region's leading banks. Given that our survey respondents indicated a preference for convenience when it comes to banking services, it seems strange that more consumers aren't opting for mobile. We can only assume that users view simple banking tasks and more complex banking tasks in the same way - i.e. banking tasks can't possibly be easy enough to complete with a few clicks on a mobile phone," said Chehab.
Indeed, for more complex tasks, the survey indicated that users forgo online banking altogether. Almost 31 per cent said that they were highly unlikely to request a loan or credit card through internet banking, and 43 per cent said they were highly unlikely to use online banking for getting financial advice.
Likewise, 41 per cent said that it was highly unlikely they would use internet banking for managing their investment portfolio, while 26 per cent said they would least likely order a cheque book online.
In terms of online banking products, Emirates NBD's online banking service was used by the most respondents, with 27.8 per cent claiming to regularly use the service. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank's online banking was second-most popular, with 17.2 per cent share, while Dubai Islamic Bank rounded off the top three with 7.4 per cent.
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