​Mobile banking and social media channels​: Are cutomers banking on them?

When it comes Facebook, ICICI Bank, has a large fan base of over 47 lakh fans, as against 35 lakh fans, in May 2015. Axis Bank has almost 32 lakh fans today, as against 30 lakh fans last year, in the same period. The country’s largest bank, State Bank of India, too, has seen a rapid rise in its fan base on the Facebook platform in the last one year. Interestingly, the bank’s fan base has more than doubled in the last one year. The bank has 52 lakh fans today, as against 24 lakh fans same time last year. This shows that the country’s largest bank has aggressively promoted itself on the Facebook platform.


Today, Indian banks are embracing the social media platform in a big way. They are not only using the social media platform to promote their products, but are also using this space to promote their events, let their customers know about the latest developments at the bank and announcing the bank progress. Social networking sites are also used, in a big way, to resolve customer queries, customer grievances, for customer satisfaction, improve branding, analysing customer needs, and offering facilities like real-time banking and money transfers.

Most of the banks today have advertised heavily on Facebook and have managed to gain a huge fan base, along with decent amount of interaction on the Facebook platform. Competition within banks has intensified. Banks are helping in resolving customer queries, customer grievances and satisfying customers. Axis Bank, on its page, says the customer query would be responded to within an hour of posting it, while ICICI Banks says that the bank would reply to the queries within a few hours.

Going by the numbers, today, leading private sector entity, ICICI Bank, has a large fan base of over 47 lakh fans, as against 35 lakh fans, in May 2015. Axis Bank has almost 32 lakh fans today, as against 30 lakh fans last year, in the same period. The country’s largest bank, State Bank of India, too, has seen a rapid rise in its fan base on the Facebook platform in the last one year. Interestingly, the bank’s fan base has more than doubled in the last one year. The bank has 52 lakh fans today, as against 24 lakh fans same time last year.

SBI carries different tabs on its home page, such as a live webcast of press and analysts meet, along with other tabs like SBI Quick, SBI offers, photos, videos, corporate website link, SBI ATM Locator, SBI Branch Locator, Tools & Calculators, YouTube, Savings Account and SBI Mingle. Similarly, ICICI Bank, too, has some interesting features like Expression App, EMI Personality Quiz, Photos, Videos, Charge In, Bank on-the-go, Testimonials on 24×7 branches, Personality Quiz, Customer Care numbers, Product Suite, 1 Minute Challenge, milestones, events held and Fan of the month.

Twitter

Banks not only promote themselves through the Facebook channel but on Twitter as well. The country’s largest bank, SBI, has 569k followers on the twitter handle @TheOfficialSBI. It provides daily updates on the bank’s products, services, initiatives and tips from experts. Similarly, by starting a twitter started in November 2011, ICICI Bank has 87.4k followers on the twitter platform, @ICICIBank. Recent developments, product offerings, offers, campaigns and financial education is given out through this twitter handle. It has a separate handle for service queries for customers, @ICICIBank_Care.

Smartphones and social media

Smartphones have indeed led to an increase in the use of social media sites. The value of transactions on the mobile device has seen a phenomenal increase, thanks to the rise in the number of smartphones in the country. Mobile banking has seen a rapid increase in recent times, with more and more retail customers coming forward to transact on the mobile phone. Banks also find it easier to tap Gen Y on social media sites today than at bank branches. In order to keep pace with these changes, Indian banks are increasingly coming up with technology innovation with the help of mobile, analytics and social media, to suit their customer needs and serve them more efficiently. Youngsters find it more convenient to transact on their smartphones than visit a bank. According to data from RBI, the value of mobile banking transactions touched Rs 49,029 crore in December 2015.

In a recent development, ten of the country’s biggest banks, along with the Reserve Bank of India have launched a Unified Payments Interface (UPI), an app that will reduce the cost and time taken for making simple payments.

Indian banks have also launched a banking service by which you can transfer funds using the social media platform. This means you can send money to anyone with a bank account, if you know the other person’s mobile number or email address, or if the person is your friend on Facebook or a follower on the Twitter platform. For instance, ICICI Bank came up with a mobile banking service called ‘Pockets’, aimed at the youth. Anyone, need not be a customer of the bank, can easily download the e-wallet from Google Playstore, fund it from any bank account in the country and start transacting immediately. The wallet allows users to instantly send money to any email id, mobile number, friends on Facebook and bank account. The users can pay bills, recharge mobiles, book movie tickets, order food and send gifts using this e-wallet. Users can choose to add a zero-balance savings account to the wallet, which will allow them to earn interest on their idle money. For each transaction, there is a unique dynamically generated OTP (One Time Password) that is sent to the sender’s mobile number, registered with ICICI Bank, to verify that the transaction is initiated by you.

Axis Bank too unveiled ‘Ping Pay’, a unique multi-social payment solution to enable customers, specially the youth and smart phone users, to transfer money and mobile recharge, person-to-person, including to non-Axis Bank account holders, using social and messaging channels like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, email and phone contact lists. The person-to-person fund transfers through Ping Pay would happen via NPCI’s Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) and currently the transaction limit is at Rs 50,000 per day.