New Entrust Study Finds Consumers in Middle East Prefer Digital Banking Experiences, But Are Concerned About Security

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A survey from Entrust details preferences of the modern banking customer, with consumers indicating a need for online banking capabilities, secure cards with chips and enhanced payment security

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: The global transformation of banking and payments has only accelerated over the past few years, and between web trends and a global pandemic, the industry has seen disruption from all angles. Consumers are digitally connected in almost all facets of their lives — and it’s evident they expect the same from their banks and payment experiences, with consumers overwhelmingly expressing a preference for digital offerings from their financial institutions. Amid this critical time for banks and credit unions, Entrust, a global leader in trusted identity, payments and data protection, set out to uncover how this disruption has impacted consumer sentiment, preferences, and habits in its new data study released today, “The Great Payments Disruption.”

Entrust surveyed 1,350 consumers from nine countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Singapore, Australia and Indonesia, who have made or received digital payments in the past 12 months. The results help paint a picture of where the banking industry stands in 2022, and what the future holds as The Great Payments Disruption continues.

“This study highlights how more than ever, consumer banking is about digital interactions first, and that they must create that digital experience with security at its foundation,” said Jenn Markey, vice president of product marketing at Entrust. “Our study found both an overwhelming preference for online banking and a significant concern about fraud – in fact, more than two-thirds of consumers in our survey, globally, changed their bank or credit union after receiving a fraud or privacy alert.  It’s clear that financial institutions must meld rich digital experiences with proven security measures such as biometric security solutions to increase consumer trust and loyalty.”

The Dawn of a New Banking Landscape

Each section of the study considers a different aspect of the transition in the banking and payments industry as more digital, contactless options become available for consumers. Here are some of the key findings from each section: 

  • Omnichannel touchpoints are increasingly important in digital banking: The majority of respondents in the UAE (61%) and KSA (77%), said they prefer to do their banking online in some form – this is clear evidence that digital banking is becoming the new norm. However, it is still essential to provide a variety of digital options, as 60% of respondents in both nations said they prefer using the app from their bank or credit union, while 29% prefer their desktop web browser. Some people do still prefer in-person banking, such as at a branch or at an interactive teller machine (9%). Overall, it is essential for banks to offer omnichannel, digital-first solutions to resonate with today’s consumers.
  • Customers are security-conscious, and lack of security can have damaging consequences: 94% of respondents in UAE and 91% of respondents in KSA said they were concerned about the potential of banking or credit fraud as banking and credit become more digital. Many respondents had personal experience with these fraud risks, with 42% in and UAE, and 57% in KSA, saying they have received notification of a personal banking or credit fraud in the past 12 months. These incidents clearly damage customer loyalty, as almost 80% of respondents notified of fraud in KSA, and 60% in the UAE, changed their bank or credit union as a result.
  • Fee structures and flexible payment options give banks an edge: Consumers are most likely to consider lower fees, digital solutions and security when choosing or changing their bank. With consumers looking for high-quality, low-cost digital banking, challenger banks could add to their current disruption by offering things like fee-free overdraft protection and unlimited foreign exchange. Additionally, challenger banks are offering new ways to pay, including through digital currencies. As the evolving regulatory framework in the region, namely in nations such as the UAE and KSA, is opening up more opportunity for banks to offer digital currency payments options, 71% of respondents in KSA and 67% in UAE said they would consider using digital currencies for payments. 
  • More digitally issued cards could further fuel the rise of contactless payments: Respondents in the UAE listed contactless credit/debit cards (47%) as their most preferred payment method, but credit/debit cards with chips (44%) were a close second. Peer-to-peer payment apps (47%) as well as credit/debit cards with magnetic strip (47%) were the two most preferred among respondents in KSA. Additionally, 64% and 74% of respondents in the UAE and KSA, respectively, said they’ve received a digitally issued debit or credit card from their bank or credit union. Digital cards can be an effective selling point as almost two-thirds of survey respondents prefer to open a bank account digitally. 

About Entrust Corporation:

Entrust keeps the world moving safely by enabling trusted identities, payments and data protection. Today more than ever, people demand seamless, secure experiences, whether they’re crossing borders, making a purchase, accessing e-government services or logging into corporate networks. Entrust offers an unmatched breadth of digital security and credential issuance solutions at the very heart of all these interactions. With more than 2,500 colleagues, a network of global partners, and customers in over 150 countries, it’s no wonder the world’s most entrusted organizations trust us.