South African online banking reaches million mark

By   |  March 8, 2004

According to the latest World Wide Worx research report, \”Online Banking in South Africa 2004\”, the number of online bank accounts in South Africa grew by 28% last year, despite the online security scare that hit Internet banking during 2003.

\”Ordinary South Africans kept a cool head while the media created a frenzy around a handful of isolated security incidents,\” says Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx, who led the research survey. \”The public failed to allow the hype to dampen its enthusiasm for online banking.\”

For the first time last year, the number of online bank accounts passed the million mark, reaching 1,04 million. The number is expected to increase further, by more than 30%, during 2004.

The survey showed that Absa continues to hold the largest number of online banking accounts, but Standard Bank is expected to catch up significantly during 2004. Both banks have aggressive marketing campaigns around Internet connectivity, which appears to have been a key to their dominance of this market niche.

The survey also showed that mobile banking had not yet taken root in South Africa, but most of the banks expected strong take-up during 2004. eBucks leads the way here, having already pioneered the use of SMS to verify transactions.

The survey also evaluated the usability, transactional functionality and content strategy of online banking sites in South Africa, using the Webagility system developed by World Wide Worx for benchmarking web sites against best practise.

IcanOnline and Absa came out as the best online banking sites in terms of general usability, eBucks scored highest on transactional functionality, and Absa came out top in terms of content strategy of their web site. Absa scored highest in the combined benchmark, which provides an indication of web site effectiveness and competitive edge.

\”While there are clear leaders, it is gratifying to see the extent to which the overall standard of all the online banking sites has improved,\” says Goldstuck. \”It is clear that banks have come to accept the strategic importance of their online presence.\”

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