The best online and mobile banks in South Africa

When it comes to banking through digital channels, South African consumers are most happy with FNB, according to a new report by BrandsEye.

BrandsEye has released it 2018 South African Banking Sentiment Index, which tracks consumers’ views towards South Africa’s big retail banks through analysing social media.

For the latest report, the group tracked posts about the five major retail banks from September 2017 to August 2018, analysing over 1.72 million social media posts across various platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

BrandsEye uses topic analyses to gauge the sentiment of posts (either positive or negative), across 70 topics, and seven broad categories, including reputation, customer service, pricing and customer retention.

Being connected to the digital space, with consumers who are tech-focused and adept at using digital channels, one of the highlights of the report is centred around digital banking.

Best digital banks

Overall, most consumers talk FNB when it comes to digital banking, with the group accounting for 36% of all digital-related topics in the year.

This includes the topics of online banking, banking apps, innovation and digital safety and security.

While being the talk of the digital space can be for better or worse, BrandsEye’s data showed that sentiment toward FNB in the space was positive – the only bank to draw a net positive sentiment across the banks.

“Business innovation was the key theme driving positivity around FNB’s digital innovation,” BrandsEye said.

Several developments over 2018 bolstered positive consumer sentiment, including the announcement that customers could open an account with a selfie, the launch of eWallet Xtra, the integration of ATMs using biometric technology, FNB Connect services along with the launch of branded phones, ConeXis X2 and ConeXis A2.

“Positive sentiment was also driven by FNB winning the title of South Africa’s Best Digital Bank for 2017 in June 2018,” the group said.

On the opposite side, Standard Bank emerged as the worst off in 2018 when it came to digital talk.

Standard Bank’s cumulative net sentiment for internet and app-based banking totalled -78.8%, well below the industry average of -43.1%. This suggests that online customer experience and services are not meeting consumer expectations.

Digital banking downtime in late February and May further contributed to negative sentiment around Standard Bank’s online services and app.

Negative sentiment around digital channels wasn’t only driven by use of said channels, BrandsEye said, pointing to reports in March that Nedbank’s introduction of “software robots” would result in 3,000 job cuts at the bank.

This was one of the primary drivers of negative sentiment for the bank over the year, it said.

Read: These are the most trusted banking, mobile and insurance brands in South Africa

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The best online and mobile banks in South Africa