Experiences of women in digital banking

Opinion Saturday 01/April/2023 20:45 PM
By: Mohammed Anwar Al Balushi
Experiences of women in digital banking

Muscat: Despite the fact that digitalisation is the future, its potential is endless, and there are no limits to what can be achieved through it. In short, digitalisation or more specifically “Digital Banking” has become a necessity. Terms such as ‘Cashless’, ‘Paperless’, and ‘Contactless’ have become commonplace.

Digital banking isn’t a new trend, it’s been around for a while, it’s evolved based on customers’ experiences. Oman’s Banking sector has witnessed major digital transformations such as Internet Banking, Telebanking, Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS), Electronic Clearing Cheques (ECC) and banking via mobile apps in recent years.

Has digital banking become a familiar practice among Omani women? What was their experience with digital banking? Are their demands as end users being met? Is digital banking a hurdle for these types of customers? In terms of digital banking, what are their expectations? How much knowledge do they have about technology and bank transactions?

“Digital banking is a new concept to me,” said Fatima, a housewife. “In terms of technology, I am far away. I do not use online shopping; I always go to the grocery store and pay in cash. I have a local bank account, but I don’t use it for digital banking”, she added.

While Fatima might not be very confident in her skills in using technology, Jamila, an educated woman working in a professional firm, indicated that she understands digital banking’s advantages and disadvantages. “Digital banking has made life easier for everyone, but there are risks, too, like digital fraud and information leaks”, said Jamila.

Another woman in her thirties, Aysha, also had a lot to say about her experience as a bank customer, “Digital banking means anytime and anywhere”, said Aysha.

The local transfer from Bank A to Bank B that I attempted last night was non-completion, so I had to withdraw first from my Bank and then deposit to Bank B, according to Aysha. As she continued, “I hope such restrictions will be removed, so everyone can access banking services digitally.”

Salha, a recent graduate seeking a job, stated that “digital banking has become an essential tool for bank customers to monitor their transactions.”

Online shopping and digital banking have the advantage of saving time. If you fail to find what you wanted online while browsing the internet, you don’t regret it as if you went to the mall and couldn’t find then, of course your time was wasted.

When I told Salma about the various digital banking services currently available, she was amazed; “I wish I had known I could pay my utility bills, transfer money, and do so many other banking transactions online, it would have saved me so much time.”

However, digital banking services are still far from perfect and have a long way to go until they are perfected, but the level of service, ease of use, and simplicity will continue to improve.