Indonesia online banking adoption fastest in SEA

Country clocks highest growth in online banking users across Southeast Asia, increasing 72 percent to 749,000 this January, new study finds.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

The Southeast Asian online banking audience "surged" over the past year with the number of users growing a double-digit percentage, where Indonesia saw the highest growth among six markets surveyed, according to a new report.

In a statement released Friday, comScore reported that visits to online banking sites grew strongly in the past year in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. Comparing unique visits to online banks in January 2010 with those in January 2011, the research firm found that the number of visits grew at a double-digit percentage for all the six markets.

The survey polled Internet users aged 15 and above who accessed online banking sites from work or home. The numbers did not include access via mobile phones or handhelds and public computers such as Internet cafes.

Indonesia clocked the highest growth, with online banks in the country registering a 72 percent increase in the number of unique visitors from 435,000 in January 2010 to 749,000 this January.

The Philippines ranked second at a 39 percent growth, comScore revealed. Online banking users in the country grew from 377,000 last year to 525,000 in January 2011. Vietnam came in third with a 35 percent growth as users increased from 701,000 to 949,000 over the same period.

Malaysia maintained the most number of online banking users among the six Asian markets. It had 2.4 million users in January 2010, which grew 16 percent to 2.7 million in January 2011.

The comScore report also pointed to Hong Kong as the most highly penetrated online banking market in the region, with online bank users representing 35.5 percent of its total online population. The number of online banking users in the market grew from 1.3 million to about 1.5 million over the past year.

In Singapore, where two-factor authentication for Internet banking systems has been established since 2006, the number of users grew 14 percent from 779,000 users in January 2010 to 889,000 this year.

In the report, Joe Nguyen, comScore's Southeast Asia vice president , noted that while the online banking penetration rate in this region has yet to reach the level of markets in North America or Europe, such services are growing rapidly as more users turn to the convenience of online channels to conduct banking activities and transactions.

This trend signifies that banks should continue to enhance and develop their site features, as well as improve the overall customer experience to continue to appeal to current and prospective customers, said Nguyen.

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