Which MENA Countries Lead in Digital Banking Adoption? ArabNet Digital Banking Report

Alexis Baghdadi, Apr 04 2016

Mobile banking adoption rates are at their highest in emerging markets, according to the “Mobile Banking 2015” report by KPMG. And Gemalto estimates that mobile banking users in the Middle East and Africa will exceed 80 million by 2017.

Banks across the region are investing in their digital assets, introducing smart branches and social media banking, and even going all the way to launching fully virtual banks. There is however a dearth of publicly available data on Arab consumer attitudes and behaviors when it comes to online banking.

“The Digital Banking Adoption in MENA” report by ArabNet, in collaboration with On Device Research, aims to shed some light on the subject, and provide insights to decision makers in the banking sector as they navigate this transformation.

The research is based on a survey of 2,500 individuals with bank accounts in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, and examines differences across markets and income levels, as well as differences between digital adopters and non-adopters.

Leading Markets and Opportunities

Users from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt showed the highest rates of mobile banking adoption (60%, 52%, and 46% respectively), compared to respondents in Lebanon (31%) and Jordan (40%).

 Interestingly, 7% of the total surveyed users said they weren’t aware of whether if their bank offered digital banking services – an interesting target market with the right effective communication campaigns.

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Analyzing adoption rates by income, it is evident that users with the highest income are also the highest adopters of digital banking. For banks, this means that their most valuable customers are also those most likely to use digital banking channels.

The Most Used Digital Banking Services

The top 3 services used by digital banking adopters are bill payments, credit card related transactions, and checking bank statements (33% of total surveyed users for each service), followed by money transfers and account management services (29% of users for each service).

Again, higher income respondents use a broader range of services and use them more often than lower income respondents.

In terms of usage frequency of digital banking services, administrative and informational type services (such as checking bank statements and managing bank accounts) rank the highest (at least once a week). Transactional banking services are used more on a monthly basis – since most users are paid once a month, and therefore transfer money once a month.

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The report also includes insights on users’ perceived benefits vis-à-vis digital banking, as well as the barriers to adoption, and potential incentive schemes to increase conversion.

To read the full report, click on the banner below:

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