Internet Banking: Raising Expectations
by Ronny Wolf, Product Manager Corporate Banking Portal, Commerzbank AG,
Corporate Banking Trade Finance & Transaction Services (TFTS)
The challenges of the internet
What does the internet mean to you, and how do you use it?
What do you need from your internet banking?
Before you ask yourself the first question, try answering the second. Most treasurers will mention security, reliability, the ability to make payments and retrieve statements. However, many systems can provide these capabilities without actually being an appropriate tool for accessing banking services via the internet. If we address the first question, we might find ourselves with a different answer. The way you use the internet, the information and services you access and the relative importance of the internet in conducting your personal and business affairs is likely to differ substantially from your friends and colleagues. Just as the high street caters for different types of shopper, the internet also caters for the diverse needs and objectives of its users. While some internet users swear by search engines, others prefer to go directly to their trusted web pages and rarely look further. Many people are so comfortable with the internet that they go shopping, book their holidays and conduct their banking online. Others prefer to use other methods for purchasing goods and services, using the internet only to compare prices or access information services such as the news, television programme listings, weather forecasts and email. Some will not provide personal details over the internet while others are keen chatroom participants, using the internet to communicate with new and potential friends and seek contacts through online business communities.
The type of website that people prefer can differ too. Some prefer websites to be simple and to the point, while others are more attracted by sites which enable them to access a large range of information and shape their online world according to their own preferences. But the tools which might be attractive to a ‘power user’ can often make a website incomprehensible to less advanced or occasional users. Furthermore, if a website is equipped with flash animations and video streaming, users in workplaces with restrictions on internet usage are prevented from accessing all the relevant features which could be useful for them. These issues can create significant challenges. The internet is a crucial communication channel for many companies, using it for sales, support and communication, and there is a substantial risk that a large proportion of a company’s target market can be put off either by being too simple or too complex.