FILIPINO CONSUMERS are more likely to open a digital account amid a coronavirus pandemic, but the process should be made simpler, according to a study by global analytics software firm FICO.

Six of 10 Filipinos wish to answer fewer than 10 questions when opening an online account or they will abandon the process, it said.

“The pandemic is driving a digital-first mindset in the Philippines with 61% of consumers more likely to open an account digitally than a year ago,” said Aashish Sharma, senior director of decision management solutions for FICO in Asia-Pacific.

He said 41% of Filipinos now prefer to open bank accounts online, which is a significant development given the country’s strong branch culture.

While Filipinos seem to be more comfortable with online transactions, they want banks to make the experience more seamless. The survey found that 69% of them want to undergo identity verification online, while 26% said financial institutions ask too many questions.

Filipinos want simpler applications with fewer questions for so-called “buy now, pay later” products (65%), savings accounts (62%) and transaction accounts (60%).

“Consumers want banks to find answers to application questions through technology approaches such as improved identity checks, transaction history analysis, open banking and government databases,” Mr. Sharma said.

The findings showed that many clients would abandon a process once they are asked to move out of a platform to prove their identity. These customers will either give up opening an account or go to a competitor.

“The survey found that any disruption matters,” according to the study. “Asking people to scan and e-mail documents or use a separate identity portal causes almost as much application abandonment as asking them to visit branches or mail in documents.”

The central bank expects 50% of payments to be done digitally by 2023. Officials Expect to achieve this earlier as the pandemic spurred people to shift to online transactions. — Luz Wendy T. Noble