Digital banking to be the norm by 2015

PwC report – Banks need to set out a clearer digital vision to engage customer and secure customer relationship primacy

SINGAPORE, 16 January 2012 - Digital banking is set to overtake branch networks as the main way customers interact with their bank by 2015. This is according to a new PwC report ‘The new digital tipping point’, which suggests that banks will be missing a vital new source of revenue growth if they are too slow to respond to the digital innovations that have radically changed business models and redefined customer experience.  This is despite strong demand for digital banking products from consumers and the fact they are willing to pay for these.

PwC conducted research with over 3,000 banking customers across nine developed and emerging markets. The Survey revealed that customers are demanding for innovative digital offerings such as social media notifications, electronic wallet for loyalty cards and financial tools. Consumers across the different regions surveyed are willing to pay for these capabilities from a range of GBP 2 to 10  a month if they believe these digital capabilities offer more convenience and value.

Mark Jansen, Partner, Financial Services Industry Practice, PwC LLP Singapore, said:

“Banks have generally been slow to embrace the digital innovation customers compared to other industries, such as retail or travel. As Generation Y grows up with digital, it will be more important for banks to match their digital expectations. Mobile devices today are equipped with more and better functionality than they ever did, and alongside the rise of social media and collaboration tools, are transforming a whole new experience in customer engagement.

The research reveals that more and more consumers are using online and mobile channels to access financial products. 69% of those surveyed said they currently use the internet to purchase financial products. While a lower number of respondents (33%) currently use mobile to purchase financial products, mobile banking is expected to follow a similar usage curve to internet banking, with China, India and the United Arab Emirates currently leading its adoption 1. In terms of customer profile, it is not surprising that Generation Y 2 leads the way, with 67% of respondents saying they currently use or are considering using, mobile channels for banking. (Generation Y refers to people born in the 1980s and 1990s.)

Despite new technology opening up banking to a number of new players, there is little evidence to suggest that they will be successful in taking over the entire customer relationship from banks. The survey reveals that the majority of respondents (61%) still trust their banks over other providers to provide their current account. However, the report suggests that new entrants, such as mobile payment providers, will continue to act as a catalyst for change in the retail banking space. Banks may also need to partner with technology, mobile and other non-traditional banking providers in order to deliver the digital experience customers now expect.

Greg Unsworth, Singapore Technology, InfoComm, Entertainment and Media Leader, PwC LLP

“Singapore has one of the world’s highest penetrated markets for internet and mobile usage as apparent from our Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2011-2015 conducted annually. It is not surprising that customers in Singapore have also come to expect a richer digital experience. They have better access to information and choices, not just from “the experts” but also from peer groups and ‘word-of-mouth’ sources, and they have a bigger voice in the social media space to propagate their opinions.”

Michiel van Selm, Director, Financial Services Industry Practice, PwC LLP Singapore added:

“Banks here need to deliver more innovative and richer digital experiences to tap the loyalty of customers, especially Generation Y as they start to reach the peak age of financial consumption. Investing in digital offerings is no longer just a way to reduce cost. Banks need to look at ways to use digital to create value for customers to remain relevant in the market. This will be especially relevant for banks that aim to expand their market share in Asia outside of their traditional markets.”



  1. PwC conducted research with over 3,000 banking customers across nine developed and emerging markets in May and June 2011. Participants were from Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Poland, the UAE and UK. Although Singapore did not participate in the Survey, the findings are likewise indicative of the trends in the Singapore market.
  2. The full report ‘The new digital tipping point’ can be obtained from your media contacts: Chen Yih Lin at or Jesslyn Foo at
  3. Mark Jansen, Michiel van Selm and Greg Unsworth are available for interviews. Please reach out to your PwC media contacts to arrange.


For media inquiries, please contact:

Jesslyn Foo (Direct Line: +65 6236 7257, e-mail:
Yih Lin Chen (Direct Line: +65 6236 3960, e-mail:


[1] 56% of respondents in India, 48% of respondents in China and 42% of respondents in the United Arab Emirates said they currently use mobiles to purchase financial products.
[2] Generation Y refers to people born in the 1980s and 1990s.