As we bid farewell to 2015 and prepare ourselves for the New Year, a noticeable practice is expanding its fan base not only across Saudi Arabia, but the rest of the world. This phenomenon I am referring to is banking via Electronic channels. Gone are the days where customers needed to visit their local branch in order to perform transactions such as paying bills, transferring money, applying for financing or even setting up standing orders.

With the popularity of smart phones and internet connectivity on the go, banks have realized that rather than bringing customers inside their branches, giving customers the autonomy and flexibility of performing banking transactions from the convenience of their own homes, offices etc. is the correct direction for customer acquisition and improving customer banking experience.

The services offered may vary from one bank to another however they are all aiming towards reducing the need of a customer to visit their branch and instead complete these transactions independently without any time or location restrictions.

What services are available?

Online Banking – Internet banking

This online portal acts as your private branch, where in you can check all your transactions, statements, bills, as well as perform functions such as transferring money, Both domestically (SARIE) and Internationally (SWIFT) , paying due bills(SADAD), upgrading services and applying for new services. The biggest advantage of online banking is that it gives the customers unrestricted access, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Mobile Banking – Banking via Mobile Application

A Majority of Local banks have available free to download Smartphone applications which allow customers to perform the same functions as their online banking with the convenience of an easy to use mobile application. For security purposes customers are verified by using multiple layers of security such as Passwords, Authentication sms codes, Physical Token generation devices and in some cases Touch ID (finger print scanning on compatible smart phones). Mobile applications open the door to customization of offers based on customer behaviours and can issue alerts to the customers based on their locations about their favourite restaurants, retailers or services which might be close by.

Phone Banking – Banking Via Call Center

One of the oldest forms of value added services being offered by banks, phone banking helps customers perform/confirm transactions which they would like to perform whilst speaking with a customer services agent or via IVR (interactive voice response). Initially this service was used for support but has transformed into one of the most popular alternative service channel for customers. Not only can you enquire about your balance but payment of bills, authorizing new services and in some cases enquiring about and applying for new financial services can be done over the telephone.

As we enter a new era of technological advancement, prepare yourself to welcome a new aspect of convenience banking, which aims to allow customers flexibility and ease of access whilst ensuring customer data is not compromised in any way. These enhancements will eventually end the need to visit branches as a whole and will ensure customer needs and experience are at the for front of all advancements.