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In India, Digital Banking Picture Remains Murky

Digital banking in the country, around for a number of years, still catching on

Banking in India is currently undergoing a transformation, and digital banking is a key driver. India ranked 11th out of 32 countries studied in Capgemini’s 2014 retail banking customer experience index, a measure of consumers’ attitudes, preferences and behaviors related to banking.

Although online banking has been available in India for awhile, usage estimates are hard to come by. According to March 2013 research from Ipsos OTX and Ipsos Global @dvisor, 61.0% of internet users in India reported using online banking in the month leading up to polling. comScore Media Metrix found that just over one-third of internet users had used online banking in the month prior to its April 2014 survey.

For context, eMarketer estimates that just 17.4% of the country’s 1.24 billion residents will be internet users by the end of 2014. Many live in rural areas, limiting the potential audience for adoption.

Though less than one in five in India will use the internet by year-end, 47.0% of the population will be mobile phone users, and banks have been working to build out their mobile banking services to reach a broader population. Because only 10.0% of the population will have smartphones by the end of the year, institutions still heavily rely on text messaging to deliver their mobile banking services.

With these considerations in mind, comparative estimates of mobile banking usage may be on the high side. Bain & Company only surveyed existing bank customers, while Ipsos OTX specifically queried internet users about mobile banking/financial app usage. Broader surveys of consumers in both urban and rural areas are required to get a clearer picture of mobile banking adoption.

Nevertheless, data released by the Reserve Bank of India showed that mobile banking transactions in the country grew over 70% between November 2012 and November 2013, while transaction values more than tripled during the same time period. Rapid growth indicates users are becoming more comfortable with moving ever-larger amounts of money via their mobile devices.

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