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Modern Independent Insights Agency, Columinate, today revealed the results of its sixth annual Internet Banking SITEisfaction survey, highlighting Capitec’s steady rise to securing the top spot in the digital banking category, ousting FNB as the category owners. Capitec also secured top honours in the Mobile Banking category, but FNB beat the newcomer by a nose (0.8 percentage points) to hold on to the top position in the Internet Banking category.

Launched in 2012, Columinate’s SITEisfaction survey is a measure of customer satisfaction with digital banking services in South Africa. The report is the only one of its kind to focus exclusively on these service offerings, and is considered by the industry as an essential feedback tool, as it reveals the behaviours and experiences of the banks’ online customers. Over the past six years, the SITEisfaction survey engaged more than 10 000 internet and digital banking users, focusing specifically on the trends that shape the digital banking landscape.


Since the advent of the smartphone, many South Africans have adopted the new technology as a lifestyle enhancement tool; the device’s versatility is a key driver of its ubiquity. South Africa’s major retail banks have subsequently developed digital applications for this channel to sate the growing consumer demand. As such, the SITEisfaction survey incorporated a new category called “Best Digital Bank” in 2016, to better measure the different digital banking solutions and experiences. The creation of the new category meant that Columinate evaluated the consumer satisfaction of the banks’ online and mobile banking offering as a whole. While FNB was crowned the winner of the new category in 2016, Capitec secured the top spot in 2017, scoring 81 out of a possible 100.

Capitec has always been a strong competitor in this category, and understands the importance of developing its solutions with a client-centric approach. According to Francois Viviers, Executive: Marketing and Communications at Capitec Bank, “Our aim has always been to design smart, simple and easy to use digital solutions that fits in to your life, while saving you time and money. We’re both excited and grateful to our clients for scoring us so highly, securing Capitec’s position as South Africa’s Best Digital Bank 2017. This is testament to our vision of helping our clients to bank better, and live better.”

FNB scored marginally lower than Capitec in the Digital Banking category, and came in a close second (79/100); miles ahead of Nedbank and Standard Bank, which were tied for third place with a paltry 61 points. Absa, which enjoyed significant improvements over the course of the last year, still trailed the field with 55 points.

“From a digital perspective, Capitec has always been a strong challenger to FNB; its efforts have finally paid off this year as its customers rated their satisfaction of the bank’s service offering higher than that of its competitors,” says Elna Pretorius, Co-Founder and Director at Columinate. “While Standard Bank has experienced some fluctuations in the level of its digital banking satisfaction levels over the last three years due to various redesigns and service outages, Nedbank has yet to shift the needle, as the bank continues to offer a middle-of-the-road solution and experience, according to its customers.”


This category takes a holistic look at all the mobile banking solutions banks offer, from mobile applications to mobi-sites for both mobile phones and tablets. Capitec scored 83 points out of a possible 100, up from last year’s score of 72. FNB secured silver with a respectable score of 80/100. Nedbank enjoyed a spike in mobile banking satisfaction levels, placing third with a score of 71/100, up from 66/100 in 2016. Standard Bank missed the podium finish after replicating 2016’s results, scoring 70/100 for a second consecutive year. While the industry experienced overall improvement, Absa customers seem to be the exception that proves the rule, scoring the bank 5 points lower from last year, taking fifth place in 2017, with 65/100.

Pretorius says that there is a growing opportunity for banks to offer a more rounded mobile banking solution; not only can banks save their customers the inconvenience of a trip to the branch through making better use of the mobile app, these financial institutions can also offer their customers a more inclusive and empowered experience. A fair assessment, considering that the majority of mobile app bankers (65%) use the app to purchase airtime; 57% of users buy data bundles, up from 51% in 2016; and 39% of consumers use the app to purchase prepaid electricity, up from 32% in 2016.

“The future leader of the SITEisfaction survey will not be determined by the user experience alone, but by the bank’s ability to offer broader product and service bundles, in so doing, offering greater levels of convenience,” continues Pretorius.


While the instance of fraud has been the lowest it’s been in the last few years (currently 46%, down from 50% in 2016, 55% in 2015, and 62% in 2014), more consumers are falling victim to the perpetrators, as 12% suffered losses in 2015, 14% in 2016, up to 19% in 2017. There are several factors that can impact this score; for starters, 23% of consumers report that they are not the only users of the internet banking account, with 82% reporting that they share their credentials with a partner or spouse, and a further 10% admit their credentials are shared with their children or parents. Multiple users on a single account can dramatically impair the integrity of that account, and this solution to a short-term annoyance may well prove to be a hindrance for long-term security.

Additionally, there seems to be a dramatic lack of knowledge, understanding and awareness of the potential scams to which consumers could fall prey. According to the findings of the 2017 SITEisfaction survey, there has been a decline in consumer awareness levels of virtually every online threat, with 5% falling victim to a phishing scam, 7% falling victim to a SIM Swap scam, and 8% falling for a 419 scam.

“There is a massive opportunity for banks to broaden their product offering via their digital channels for the convenience and enjoyment of their customers. But equally, if not more importantly, the onus is on the banks to elucidate their customers on the threats they face when engaging with the bank online, from spoofed websites, to keyloggers, to data-stealing malware – the banks have to take responsibility for educating their customers, or at the very least, develop a product or solution that could protect these users should they fall victim to the inevitable crime – it’s not just a nuisance to the customer, or an inconvenience to the bank, it’s a practice that impacts the entire South African economy,” concludes Pretorius.

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