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Jakarta Post

Banks develop technology to stay relevant in customers’ lives

  • Winny Tang

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, February 27, 2019   /   06:44 am
Banks develop technology to stay relevant in customers’ lives A click away: Thanks to mobile banking applications, "round the clock transactions are at the customers" fingertips. (Philippine Daily Inquirer/-)

Banks are trying to catch up with the digitization wave by becoming more innovative and up-to-date in their customers’ lives amid competition with financial technology (fintech) players, which offer easy payment features with less bureaucracy.

Big banks do not hesitate to spend lavishly to develop digital platforms, which are expected to help customers manage their finances.

Some examples of this are private lenders Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional (BTPN) and Bank Central Asia (BCA), both of which launched new "keyboard" features in their mobile phone apps.

Customers of BTPN and BCA do not need to operate Jenius or BCA mobile apps on their phones during banking transactions, meaning that the way people interact with technology is getting more seamless and smoother as apps are now more customer-friendly.

BTPN, which recently merged with Japanese lender Bank Sumitomo Mitsui Indonesia (SMBCI), introduced the keyboard feature in its already-known Jenius digital platform.

Since it was launched two years ago, Jenius has had 1.2 million users, with 70 percent of its customers living in Greater Jakarta and other big cities across Indonesia.

“Jenius provides financial solutions. Lifestyle comes first, while financial solutions become the enabler [to enhance people’s lives],” said Irwan Sutjipto Tisnabudi, BTPN's deputy head of digital banking, recently.

Similar to what is offered by Jenius, the keyboard feature launched by BCA enables customers to conduct banking transactions while chatting without the need to operate the BCA mobile app on their phones.

BCA guaranteed the safety of its keyboard feature as it did not have a memory system that can record anything the customer types into their phones, said BCA vice president director Armand Hartono during a recent event in Tangerang, Banten.

However, BCA Keyboard is only available on Android at the moment.

Before the keyboard feature, BCA, the country’s largest private lender, launched QRku and OneKlik, which offer quick response (QR) codes and cardless payment technology, respectively.

In its study of 2,055 respondents in 11 big cities in Indonesia, data analysis firm Nielsen Indonesia found that young people, particularly those belonging to generations X, Y and Z, as well as baby boomers, view online banking solutions in a positive light.

From the research, 72 percent of the respondents see online banking solutions as something innovative, 61 percent see it as something reliable, while 60 percent think that digital banking improves convenience.

The study shows that all generations view digitalization as an enabler to enhance their lives, especially in communications, entertainment and finances. In choosing which digital bank to use, consumers put importance in pricing, safety and innovation, the research says.

Private lender DBS Indonesia, part of Singapore’s DBS financial group, also takes part in the trend through its digital platform Digibank, which allows customers to open their accounts and conduct payments without the need to go to the bank’s branch offices.

When DBS first launched Digibank in 2017, it could only acquire 100 customers per day, but now it can attract 1,000 Digibank users per day.

Viewing the rising competition with other banks in digital innovation, BCA claims it can stay ahead as it already has a huge number of customers.

“Other banks can easily copy new digital development, but we have the critical mass. Now, we have 18 million customers and more than 400,000 merchants,” said BCA president director Jahja Setiaatmadja.

Jahja earlier said BCA had earmarked Rp 5.2 trillion for IT improvement this year, including Rp 1 trillion set aside for digital banking development.

Currently, 97 percent of BCA’s transactions occur through digital channels instead of branch offices.