Friday , 26 April 2019

Switching on to online banking

Notwithstanding the push towards digital economy, the progress of online banking in Goa is slower than expected, finds out Serilda Coutinho

Even though online banking is a convenient banking option the fear of frauds and the lack of awareness is discouraging users from using this medium.  According to bankers in the state, net banking transactions are registering a steady increase each year. But even they admit that, at the ground level there is a vast segment of populace who are reluctant to bank online.

Bankers are keen that customers use net banking because it reduces the workload at the branch level. Moreover internet banking is timesaving to both the bank as well as the customer. Says, Prakash Shukla, assistant general manager, Bank of India, Campal, “Nowadays people are so busy with their work that they have no time to visit the bank and this latest technology saves their time. Every technology has its plus and minus point but once the customer is familiar with the system it will be simpler”.

A bank official from Ponda says that, around 40 to 50 percent of customers opt for online banking services and they usually consist of the younger generation. While the senior citizens are still used to visiting the branch for their banking needs as they find it safe. Elderly customers are used to the physical mode of transaction. “There has also been only a five percent decrease in request for new cheque books since most customers still prefer to deal in cheques for higher value transactions,” he reveals.

With the government push towards cashless, many residents have switched to the online mode of payment.  For the tech savvy, getting an e-statement of your account, to transferring money and even paying bills is at a click of the button. Yet the queue in banks, to update the passbooks or withdraw cash has not reduced in the state.  Why do customers still shy away from using online banking?

Laxmi Kunkolienkar, Proprietor, Kamaxi Foods, Panaji, says “I use the online platform for transactions almost every day. It really saves time. I do not prefer going to the bank as the staff take a lot of time in transactions keeping the customers waiting. Also being a distributor we get our stocks delivered on time only once the payment is cleared from our end. Using the National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT) service of online banking where funds are directly transferred to receiver’s bank account. The dispatching process of goods is becoming much smoother and faster “.

On the other hand, Savita Kerkar, professor, Goa University, is aware of the online banking platform but reluctant to use it for daily services. She says “My friend once shared with me her experience with online banking where some amount got debited from her account without her notice. Since I use a single account for all my transactions I am afraid of losing my money too in online banking. Unless I am convinced with the safety of online banking I will prefer going to the bank”.

Like Kerkar, there are several who fear of online frauds and prefer visiting the branch. Giving their views on the security aspect of digital transactions, bank officials claim that with the introduction of secure technology that allows you to receive OTP directly over the app rather than through SMS and replacing the magnetic strip to EMV chips in debit and credit cards, online transactions are much secure than before. Banks also often advise customers to not share their OTP, passwords and bank details as a precautionary measure.

Sagun  Salgaonkar, certified ethical hacker and proprietor of Technowings, Panaji  says, “Unless the person is educated to use the technology, no matter how much physical security in the form of anti-virus is provided a user is prone to online hacking attacks. I would advice users to avoid transactions through mobile apps as this platform is less secured for transaction and prone to attacks”.

Salgaonkar’s advice to consumers to safeguard from online attacks is to educate themselves and securing the system used for transaction. Further users must only transact from a genuine websites and set a limit for transaction on the credit card so that it is not misused in any way.

With life being technology driven, it is clear that there is no escape from online banking in the coming years. Salgaonkar says that, perhaps a change in the curriculum in colleges to educate the youth and create awareness on the safe use of technology, would change the scenario.

With regard to the fear of losing the debited amount from the account in case of transaction failures, Shukla, says, “The money will not go out of the system if the transaction has failed. It will get refunded.”

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