Easy online account opening essential
Pandemic driving digital-first mindset for financial services, finds Fico survey
published : 10 Sep 2021 at 04:00
newspaper section: Business
People in Thailand expect a seamless banking experience when it comes to opening an account via a mobile app or website, with one in two expecting to answer 10 questions or less or they will abandon the process, according to a survey by the US-based data analytics company Fico.
One in five Thais will drop out if asked more than five questions, the results show. Similar responses across the Asia-Pacific region demonstrate the growing indifference to standardised financing solutions, said Fico, which pioneered credit scoring more than 60 years ago.
"The pandemic is driving a digital-first mindset in Thailand with 66% of consumers more likely to open an account digitally than a year ago," said Aashish Sharma, senior director of decision management solutions for Fico in Asia-Pacific.
"The number of consumers who prefer to open bank accounts digitally has grown to 44% and continues to rise, which is significant in a country with a strong branch culture."
Consumer patience with account applications varied according to product, the survey showed. Thais had the highest expectations for completing applications in 10 questions or less, for savings accounts (62%), transaction accounts (58%) and buy now, pay later products (55%).
Interestingly, this expectation was significantly higher than in other countries, said Fico. For instance, just 41% of UK consumers and 51% of Australian consumers expected to answer 10 questions or less when opening a transaction account.
Overall, Thai consumers want digital experiences that reduce friction and inconvenience. They expect their main bank to know them, 85% want to prove their identity online and 25% of Thais say that financial institutions ask too many questions.
"Where there is friction there is opportunity, as the quote goes," said Mr Sharma. "Either you solve it for your customers today, or a competitor will do it tomorrow."
"Consumers want banks to find answers to application questions through technology approaches such as improved identity checks, transaction history analysis, open banking and government databases," said Mr Sharma.
The survey showed that consumers expect an appropriate degree of increased friction and security when it comes to applying for specific high-value financial products such as housing loans.
Despite relatively high levels of ease and confidence in applying for day-to-day online financial products such as current accounts, savings, loans and credit cards, 61% of customers polled expect greater rigour when it comes to mortgage applications.
Research showed that just 27% of Thais would apply for a mortgage digitally, compared to the survey average of 34%. In all countries except the US and the UK, in-branch mortgage account openings are preferred to online methods. South Africa was a modest outlier with 43% of customers favouring online mortgage applications.
Nearly one in two Thais polled (48%) said they were willing to answer 11 to 20 or more questions when it came to applying online for a mortgage.
Thais who open an account digitally prefer to carry out the process entirely in their chosen channel, whether it be smartphone or website. If customers are asked to move out of channel to prove their identities, many of them will abandon the application, either giving up on opening an account completely or by going to a competitor. Of those who don't immediately abandon, up to an additional 20% will delay the process.
The survey found that any disruption matters. Asking people to scan and email documents or to use a separate identity portal causes almost as much application abandonment as asking them to visit a branch or mail in documents.
The survey of 1,000 Thai adults was conducted for Fico in January 2021 by an independent research company. Also interviewed were a total of 13,000 consumers in the US, UK, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Vietnam, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.