,Singapore

Virtual banking trumps branch banking in Southeast Asia: study

But less than half of consumers are impressed with the digital financial services currently offered.

The battleground for Southeast Asia’s financial ecosystem has gone digital, with 57% of consumers surveyed now preferring to engage with their banks via apps rather than visiting a branch, according to a study by a software company, VMWare.

In Singapore, 68% of respondents indicated that they are happy to interact digitally with financial services firms, the highest in the region. This is followed by respondents from Malaysia (66%), Indonesia (58%), Thailand (61%), and the Philippines (63%).

Despite their keenness to bank digitally, less than half of respondents (44%) are excited by the digital services currently being delivered by financial services firms—highlighting an opportunity to harness cutting-edge innovations to delight consumers, VMWare said.
 
“Consumers have gained a better appreciation of technology’s role in creating value over the past year,” VMWare said in a press release. “Sixty-three percent (63%) of Southeast Asian respondents agreed that digital engagements with financial services organizations have freed up their time to focus on other priorities.”

This is reflected with consumers’ increasing toleration for emerging technologies: 70% of South East Asian (SEA) respondents expressed trust in artificial intelligence (AI).

Notably, more than four in ten respondents (41%) are willing to let an app help make their investment decisions over an individual that works for the bank.

Indonesia takes the cake when it comes to AI trust, with almost four in five (78%) of respondents expressing trust in AI. In the Philippines, 75% expressed trust, whilst 70% of Singaporeans and Thai respondents indicated that they trust AI. All countries are on par with SEA’s average of 70%.
 
VMWare highlighted trust and privacy as the key drivers to building a trusted and inclusive financial ecosystem in SEA.

Security is respondents’ number one priority when it comes to choosing a financial services provider, with 82% listing it as their top priority.

In Singapore, over 84% of those surveyed named security as their top priority, whilst 83% of Thai and Philippine respondents indicated the same.

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