Thais keen on digital finance

Thais keen on digital finance

Thai consumers are embracing digital financial services rapidly but in order to achieve long-term success, local firms must build more robust and secure foundations to overcome key gaps in digital experiences and trust, says cloud computing and virtualisation technology company VMware Inc.

The "VMware Digital Frontiers 3.0 Study" found consumers in Thailand are more appreciative of the value of digital products and services in the last year, with 80% of respondents stating digital engagement with financial organisations has freed up their time to focus on other priorities.

Thailand leads all other Southeast Asian countries surveyed -- the Philippines (62%), Malaysia (60%), Indonesia (57%) and Singapore (55%).

The multi-country study was conducted from November to December 2020 and surveyed the behaviours, preferences and attitudes towards digital services and experiences of 1,000 consumers in five Southeast Asian markets (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines) as well as the US, Britain, Germany and France.

Some key findings include 61% of respondents being happy to engage with financial services firms digitally, but 64% would switch to another brand if the digital experience did not live up to expectations, highlighting the increasingly competitive sector.

Moreover, 85% of respondents said they are embracing contactless payments and moving away from cash-based transactions.

With 72% of Thai consumers surveyed preferring to engage with banks via apps rather than visiting in-person at a branch, growth-oriented financial services firms need to step up their transformation efforts to deliver superior digital experiences that Thai consumers now expect, said VMware.

Ekpawin Sukanan, country manager of VMware Thailand, said Thailand's financial services industry has evolved drastically in the past year with the rise of new disruptors as well an accelerated pivot by consumers towards digital channels due to the pandemic.

It is evident technologies such as the cloud will be key in accelerating innovations and enabling seamless and secure digital experiences that will delight customers, said Mr Ekpawin.

Over the last year, more consumers in Thailand have embraced emerging technologies. At least 70% of respondents said they trust artificial intelligence, while 56% are willing to let an app help make investment decisions over an individual that works for the bank.

Moreover, 57% of respondents are comfortable if banks gain access to data about their daily lives for better financial advice and management.

Consumers in Thailand show a willingness to embrace next-generation technologies, with 74% of those surveyed expressing trust in facial recognition technologies and 81% at ease with 5G.

When it comes to technologies of the future, surveyed consumers are optimistic about the impact on their digital experiences, with 44% believing 5G can make banks more efficient and enable them to do things like process applications and credit checks faster.

Despite the optimism in emerging technologies, Thai consumers will not compromise when it comes to security as 83% of respondents consider security the No.1 priority when choosing a financial services provider.

Some 63% of Thai consumers surveyed feel concerned that organisations are tracking and recording what they are doing on their devices -- the highest amongst surveyed countries in Southeast Asia: Malaysia (58%), Singapore (57%), the Philippines (56%) and Indonesia (51%).

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