UAE: 9 out of 10 residents prefer digital banking to visiting physical branches


Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Dubai - 44% willing to switch to a different bank due to poor customer relations.


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Tue 6 Jul 2021, 12:10 PM

Last updated: Tue 6 Jul 2021, 12:24 PM

Nine out of 10 UAE residents are now more likely to opt for digital banking services rather than make a physical visit to a bank branch.

A new survey conducted by Backbase and YouGov revealed that consumers' appetite for digital self-service has grown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


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The survey showed that 72 per cent of respondents use digital banking services at least once a week, and 24 per cent once a day or more.

Movement restrictions or closures of bank branches in the early days of the pandemic forced consumers online, and banks responded by rapidly shifting products and services to digital platforms.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic last year, consumer expectations have shifted from day-to-day banking services to also include more complex interactions, such as remote account openings or subscriptions to new products or services like getting a loan or subscribing to insurance.

However, 31 per cent of respondents say that their bank is weak when it comes to offering seamless access to online banking services.

The survey results also showed that 44 per cent of UAE respondents cited poor customer relations as a key influencing factor in making the decision to switch to a different bank.

According to Backbase, many banks have relied on rolling out standalone applications and self-contained systems to add new functions and services to their online banking offerings, creating fragmented systems that don’t deliver a good experience to customers.

With further digital transformation ahead, financial institutions need to ensure that they have the right platform to manage future expansion.

“As the pandemic recedes, banks have the opportunity to provide enhanced customer engagement online, which will pave the way for physical branches to only deliver more complex, high-value activities,” said Matthijs Eijpe, regional vice-president sales for EMEA at Backbase.

"To make sure that they can capitalise on changing customer behaviour, banks will need to break free from siloed technology architecture and bring engagement to the forefront of their digital operations."

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