New research from Unisys Corporation reveals Australian consumers are the most likely in Asia Pacific to be frustrated when their bank account is frozen due to suspected fraud.

The Unisys APAC Banking Insights Survey provides insights into the attitudes of bank customers in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan. Research firm OmniPoll polled a nationally representative sample of 1,237 Australians.

The survey examined the balance between security and convenience in the customer experience for anti-fraud measures taken by banks. When asked how they would feel if their bank blocked their credit card because of a suspected fraudulent transaction that turned out to be genuine, almost half (48 per cent) of Australians said that they would be frustrated by the inconvenience of having their account suspended even though they were glad action had been taken to protect them.

A further 11 per cent said they would be annoyed because they could not access their accounts – the highest of the seven countries surveyed. This finding suggests that banks need to improve the detection of fraud more accurately to prevent losses and unnecessarily inconveniencing customers.

Australians and New Zealanders both cited having to repeat themselves to different service consultants or channels as the most annoying thing when engaging with a bank (24 per cent of Australians). But nearly as many (23 per cent) are annoyed by long queues in the branch – which was the top annoyance in the Asian markets in the survey.

“Australian banks have focused on a successful multi-channel strategy and as a result, Australians value convenience when dealing with their financial institution. This expectation for convenience can lead to frustration if they have to wait in long queues, repeat or re-authenticate themselves or have their accounts frozen to protect them from suspected fraud,” said Richard Parker, VP, Financial Services, Unisys Asia Pacific.

“Consumers expect their bank to know who they are, all of their relationships with the bank and what information has already been given to the bank. It is not enough to offer multiple channels – Aussie customers want the right experience at the right time regardless of the channel or device: an omnichannel experience.”

The survey reveals that the type of banking interaction impacts which channel customers prefer to use. Australians prefer online channels to access many services: research banking products (68 per cent of respondents), check account balance (57 per cent) make payments under $1,000 (54 per cent) or make payments over $1,000 (49 per cent).

But the majority of Australians still prefer to go into a bank branch to apply for a home loan (53 per cent) or open a deposit account (47 per cent). When applying for a credit card or personal loan, they are almost equally likely to go online (43 per cent) or into a branch (42 per cent).

“Branches still play a key role in educating customers on their financial future, but most bank transactions can be done via more convenient digital channels. This digital transformation reflects a global trend as banks respond to these issues. Providing a seamless, frictionless customer experience across all channels is key to delivering a positive customer experience,” said Eric Crabtree, VP and global head, Financial Services, Unisys.

While Australian consumers prefer online interactions with their bank for most services, they do not yet embrace mobile apps. New Zealanders are twice as likely as Aussies to use a mobile app to open a deposit account or apply for a credit card or personal loan.

But there is appetite for Australians to use mobile apps to check their account balance (25 per cent) and make payments less than $1,000 (18 per cent) – yet these levels are not as advanced as in New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia or the Philippines.

Parker said, “It is interesting that while Australians value convenience, they are behind other Asia Pacific nations when it comes to using mobile banking – even though Australian banks have led the roll out of mobile banking apps.”

He said this reticence to adopt the more complex transactions is likely due to security concerns. The recent Unisys Security Index found that the top security concerns for Australians are identity theft and unauthorised access to personal data. The same research found that the main barrier to using payment apps on smart watches is concern about data security.

“The perceived security concerns outweigh the potential benefit of convenience. To drive Aussie consumers to mobile banking channels Australian banks need to reassure their customers of the steps taken to protect their data in order to gain and keep customer trust.”

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