The country’s largest bank, State Bank of India (SBI), today, has over 41 lakh fans (over four million fans) visiting its Facebook page, on regular basis. This number is against the bank’s 24 lakh fans, nearly six months ago. This clearly shows how aggressively the bank is using the social media space to increase its visibility, make announcements while also promoting its products and services. Other leading banks such as ICICI Bank, who is SBI’s close competitor, too has over 41 lakh fans, on Facebook, as against the fan base of 35 lakh, roughly six months ago. Its other counterparts, such as HDFC Bank and Axis bank have a fan base of over 22 lakh and 31 lakh fans, respectively.
With the help of Facebook, customers find it convenient to know more the milestones achieved, products offered, festive and other offers, customer care details, events held, information on loan and other products, details of branches, latest news and developments happening in the bank and so on.
Experts strongly believe that social media, indeed, has the power to increase business, cater better to customer requirements, and resolve queries at the same time. It gets the company closer to the customer by serving them better. With the competition in the banking industry growing rapidly, it is absolutely necessary for banks to use the social media space, to garner more and more business, while also keeping their customers happy. Again, it further helps to cater to today’s youth who are highly technology savvy, and prefer to carry out banking transactions online than visit a branch. Thus, innovation in products and services has become important.
In the recent past, Indian banks have launched a banking service through which you can transfer funds using the social media platform, in short send money to anyone with a bank account, if you know his/her mobile number or email address, or if the person is your Facebook friend or follows you on Twitter. In light of this, ICICI Bank introduced mobile banking service called ‘Pockets’, for the youth, where anyone, need not be a customer of the bank, can easily download the e-wallet from Google Playstore, fund it from any bank account in the country and start transacting immediately. This wallet allows the user to instantly send money to any email id, mobile number, friends on Facebook and bank account. The user can pay bills, recharge mobiles, book movie tickets, order food and send gifts using this e-wallet. Users can choose to add a zero-balance savings account to the wallet, which will allow them to earn interest on their idle money. For each transaction, there is a unique dynamically generated OTP (One Time Password) that is sent to the sender’s mobile number, registered with ICICI Bank, to verify that the transaction is initiated by you.
Axis Bank too unveiled ‘Ping Pay’, a unique multi-social payment solution to enable customers, especially the youth and smart phone users, to transfer money and mobile recharge, person-to-person, including to non-Axis Bank account holders, using social and messaging channels like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, email and phone contact lists. Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd too launched a banking service called KayPay, which allow individuals to transfer funds to each other instantly by just choosing recipients from their Facebook friends list.
The Reserve Bank of India too has been urging banks to increase their presence on the social media platform. Experts also believe that in order to take banking to the next stage, Indian banks will have to continue to invest in the social media and mobile platform. They should continuously keep experimenting with various social media tools and channels, in order to strengthen their brand, enable payments and also improve their visibility and build their image.
In order to ensure online security, banks are also coming up with innovative ways to ensure online banking is safe and cyber crime is prevented. Most customers prefer security over convenience while transacting online. Hence, a two-step authentication is being followed, where customers find it more safe and secure.