Singaporeans need further nudge to adopt mobile banking

Although almost nine in ten Singaporeans (88 percent) use mobile banking at least a few times a month, many Singaporeans still use ATMs and visit bank branches.

Three out of four Singaporeans use ATMs several times a month, while one in four visits their bank branches several times a month. This emerges from a first-ever national digital inclusion and resilience survey conducted by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) in partnership with UOB.

The study, which surveyed over 2,000 Singaporeans this year, provides fundamental insights into inclusive banking by examining Singaporeans’ attitudes and behaviors towards digital banking adoption and digital resilience. The results of the first poll were shared at the Festival of Ideas, a biannual event organized by LKYSPP that brings together a diverse group of policymakers and thought leaders to stimulate ideas and stimulate dialogue about public policy.

Trust is key to bridging the gap between intention and adoption

The survey found that those who frequent ATMs and bank branches are not opposed to mobile banking adoption, but actually have the highest intent to use mobile banking. Those who use ATMs more than once a day scored a 5.8 for intention to adopt mobile banking (with 6 being the highest intention to adopt mobile banking), while those who use ATMs daily scored a 5.4 scored. The gap between intent and adoption suggests that more could be done to drive adoption of digital banking.

When it comes to consumers who frequent bank branches, those who visit more than once a day score high (5.6) for intent to adopt mobile banking. On the other hand, customers who never visit bank branches also show a high intention to adopt mobile banking (5,6), indicating that there are specific demographics interested in digitizing banking.

dr Reuben Ng, assistant professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and principal investigator of the national study, said, “People who use ATMs and frequent bank branch visits have expressed a strong desire to adopt digital banking, but have not done so. This is the segment where banks need to focus their efforts. Trust ranks first among the most important considerations as to whether customers will adopt digital banking.”

Digital Resilience

Given the trend of increasing and evolving fraud cases in Singapore, another aspect of the survey was to better understand Singaporeans’ digital resilience and their vulnerability to fraud. Contrary to popular belief, older adults are not the most vulnerable to scams, with those under the age of 25 being 10 percent more likely to be scammed than those 65 and older.

Prof. Ng stated that “Young people are the most vulnerable as digital natives, as their ease with technology may have lowered their vigilance against fraud.”

Commenting on the digital resilience of Singaporeans, Kevin Lam said: “We believe that financial and digital literacy are crucial in the world we live in today, especially for young people. That’s why we will launch UOB TMRW’s #BetterTMRW Financial Literacy (FinLit) initiative, an ongoing program to educate and guide our clients to be financially strong and digitally savvy so they have the knowledge to achieve their goals and to achieve financial security.”