Risk of fraud and security concerns are the major deterrents to people using online banking services and credit cards in Trinidad & Tobago, with over 70 percent of the population preferring traditional methods to conduct banking transactions, a new survey on local media consumption patterns by advertising and marketing agency, cmb, has shown.
Interestingly, even though just 25 percent of Trinidadians use credit cards, 69 percent of all online transactions were facilitated by a credit card. While 45 percent of people surveyed outrightly rejected ever using credit cards online, 55 percent were open the possibility.
cmb structured the framework of the survey; it was conducted by data analytics firms Lucent Research Ltd and Sacoda Serv Ltd, and featured interviews with over 900 people from demographics that best reflected the latest census data.
Out of those who did have credit cards, 69 percent had regular “postpaid” credit cards, while 28 percent had reloadable “pre-paid” cards, which, while not strictly credit cards were still used as such at merchants.
Online banking appears to suffer from the same distrust as credit card use online, with just 19.6 percent of people saying they use their bank’s online banking options. Even among the tech-savvy younger generations, only 12.7 percent of Generation Z used online banking, while Millennials were slightly more inclined, at 25.5 percent. Those in higher socioeconomic brackets were also more inclined to choose the service, with just over one third (33.9 percent) of A, B (higher income/complete secondary or tertiary education) respondents saying they used online banking compared to those in C1, C2, D (lower income/partial secondary or vocational education).
When they do log on to online banking, 50.5 percent of respondents said they preferred the bank’s mobile app, while 56.5 percent accessed the service via the website (web browser).
Despite the obvious benefits of electronic banking, for example, less time spent in bank lines and no need to carry around excessive amounts of cash, it is clear that banks and merchants need to do more to reassure consumers about the safety and security of using these types of platforms. Whether from lack of information or perhaps even just habit, it seems customers would rather the interpersonal experience of physically conducting transactions.
Trust, or rather, a lack of it, is the fundamental issue that service providers need to overcome, according to some of the responses given, followed closely by apathy—some consumers just never had a good enough reason to try. That intrinsic fear of fraud, however, remains preeminent as a concern—customers either have their own misgivings, or else they have been influenced by friends and family members who also mistrust the system. It is telling that even among the more digitally-inclined demographics, online banking/credit cards still is not embraced as a tool for convenience.
Marketing and communications strategies, then, should attempt to tackle these concerns directly, through open and honest methods that in some way balance the technical and the traditional—emphasising that despite the modern digital platform, interpersonal service is still available. The aim should be making the process more relatable to the consumer, highlighting efforts to ensure safety and security while showing how streamlined and convenient electronic banking is to use, ultimately assuaging any uncertainty.