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Indians trust Google more than even banks with their money

Sandeep Soni

Indian consumers are most open to switching to digital-only banks among countries in the Asia Pacific region within the next two years according to a report released by Forrester even as the increasing internet penetration and smartphone user base boost digital banking while banks too push customers to adopt digital banking in order to tap and manage larger customer base. 59 per cent of the Indian consumers will consider switching to digital-only banks in two years, ahead of 48 per cent Indonesians, 44 per cent consumers from Thailand, 35 per cent Chinese followed by consumers in Malaysia (31 per cent), Singapore (21 per cent), Hong Kong (18 per cent), and Australia with surprisingly only 14 per cent of its consumers.

"It is not that financial services providers be it retail banker, or life insurance company or a small business banker are providing poor digital experience. It is that customers want more of it and they are fine switching to digital-only banks to cater to their appetite," Arnav Gupta, an analyst focusing on finance and retail at Forrester told Financial Express Online.

With respect to building trust among customers for their financial well being, its Google, not the banks that have the maximum trust of customers "to act in the best financial interest of them, according to the Forrester report. The other top brands in terms of building financial trust among consumers in India including Paytm followed by Amazon and Flipkart.

"These companies are providing financial services in small little spaces like Google offering payment through Pay, partnering with banks like ICICI and offering personal loan through Google Pay. Amazon, Paytm have wallets and other services while Flipkart launched credit card etc. This is the engagement they are establishing with customer while banks are increasingly becoming a backend platform provider," said Gupta.

Moreover, 85 per cent and 81 per cent of customers living in metropolitan areas of China and India respectively are "progressive pioneers who lead the demand for product and experience innovation in financial services. Their high levels of empowerment affect how they choose to interact with their financial services providers, preferring digital channels over physical ones," the report titled The Pulse Of Financial Services Customers In Asia Pacific said that received inputs from 14,900 online adults across countries mentioned in the Asia Pacific region.

This is high time for traditional banks and financial service providers to understand that the conversation with customers has moved beyond transactions to financial well being rather than just about UPI, or IMPS or chasing your account balance, said Gupta.

India's digital transactions volume grew by 58.8 per cent in FY19, up from 50.4 per cent in FY18 while the growth in terms of value was 19.5 per cent in FY 19 against 22.2 per cent in FY18, according to the Reserve Bank of India. The RBI has set a target of increasing the digital transactions more than 4X from Rs 2,069 crore in December 2018 to Rs 8,707 crore in December 2021, as per its vision document released in May this year.