Research Precedents: Investigating Early Mobile Banking
Several of the assumptions outlined in the previous chapter with respect to the relationships expected between demographic factors and the uptake of new forms of banking, were confirmed in the early part of the present decade by Al-Ashban and Burney (2001). In general terms, the conclusions of their research found that the greatest inhibitor of mobile technology development is the income inequalities which prevail in Saudi Arabia.
They point out that these kind of technological solutions have a tendency to attract educated and well off demographics and that therefore uptake of such modes is highly correlated to factors such as the age and occupation of the client base (Al-Ashban and Burney 2001).
In other words, a great many people in Saudi simply cannot afford to use such services or, given the state of their finances, see little reward in signing up for tele-banking services (KPMG, 2009). Indeed, 58% of respondents used tele-banking services for inquiries only – balances, exchange rates, recent transactions (KPMG, 2009). Many of the target demographics are unlikely to have a great deal of important financial transactions to make on a daily or monthly basis and the extra convenience of mobile or tele-banking would bring little benefit to them.
The greater contact between customers and banks is likely to increase familiarity and acceptance of new forms of banking. As Al-Ashban and Burney write: “(A)s the exposure of a customer increases…he develops the understanding and trust in the service and consequently, his usage frequency increases” (2001: p197). This effect is enhanced by the fact that companies are most likely to offer trials of new services to their most valued customers.
Further, research shows significant enthusiasm for further developments in mobile banking across the population. This demonsted the openness to change which is be expected of a youthful population and a growing economy.