MANY FILIPINOS consider security features as a key factor in choosing their digital banks, with a huge number of respondents — the highest in Asia Pacific — concerned the personal documents they submit could be used for data and identity theft, a survey by global analytics software firm FICO showed.

The survey showed that more than half or 56% of Filipino respondents using digital banks preferred to use online channels to transact with their banks at the height of the coronavirus pandemic last year, with 29% opting to use mobile banking applications, 12% using internet banking, 9% via e-mail and 6% preferring telephone or video channels.

The findings were based on the responses of 5,000 digital banking customers surveyed in December across Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

“The risk of infection and social distancing requirements made branch visits less appealing last year, accelerating a shift to digital banking channels globally,” Aashish Sharma, risk lifecycle and decision management lead for FICO in Asia Pacific, was quoted as saying in a press release.

Despite the strong demand for digital banking, 67% of Filipino respondents stressed the importance of security authentication such as biometrics, one-time passwords (OTP) and two-factor authentication as key factors in switching to a different bank.

“Data protection is a top-of-mind concern for all consumers across the board especially in Southeast Asian markets such as the Philippines where 70% have indicated their extreme concern,” the report said.

Around 67% of Filipinos said they are likely to switch banks with improved security features — the highest rate among 10 Asia-Pacific nations surveyed.

The most secure types of authentication identified were a combination of two authentication types, led by biometrics, password and SMS OTP. 

Filipinos were also keen on digital banking features that allow them to send money to friends and family from any device, with 69% saying this is “extremely important.” This rate was also the highest in the region.

The report also found that majority or 59% of the respondents were content with the existing security authentication features they use, although 11% said they were not satisfied.

Despite the huge chunk of Filipino respondents opting for digital banking, the majority or 67% still wanted banks to maintain brick and mortar branches, while 25% said this is not that important and the remaining respondents said they do not see the significance of physical branches.

“Being able to deliver and manage numerous channels in line with customer preference and deliver a seamless and engaging experience is a challenge that is here to stay. Investment in customer management and communication tools that span these channels and product silos, and can deliver personalization and improved decision making, is key to making digital banking a success,” Mr. Sharma added.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas wants 50% of transactions, both in value and volume, done digitally by 2023. — B.M. Laforga