The Uptake of Digital Financial Services is on the rise, according to a latest market study on the Adoption of Digital Financial Services in Jordan

The Uptake of Digital Financial Services is on the rise, according to a recent market study on the Adoption of Digital Financial Services in Jordan

20.01.2022

The Jordan Payments and Clearing Company (JoPACC) published a study on the adoption of digital financial services (DFS) in Jordan, revealing, amongst other things, increased uptake of digital financial services by youth. The study, which was launched by JoPACC and conducted by Ipsos Jordan, aims to investigate the adoption of digital financial services by various segments of society and their usage and experience with these services. The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of the consumers' appetite for and usage of digital financial services and their financial behavior in light of the rapid development of Jordan’s digital financial services.

Despite the preference for cash by most, there is considerable growth in the usage of digital financial services by banked individuals, with 77% stating their preference for automated services. The low acceptance of digital payments by merchants and the services industry is one of the main reasons for the reliance on cash. According to the report, only 26% of merchants provide digital financial services to their consumers in-store. Another reason people prefer cash is the lack of a consistent source of income, which pushes individuals away from owning financial accounts and therefore decreases their chances of benefiting from digital financial services in the country.

Individuals in the younger age brackets represent the largest segment that considers using digital banking services and mobile wallets to benefit from instant transfer services as 44% stated. In the same context, 45% of the survey respondents believe that electronic payment methods are secure, and 62% stated they trust their financial institutions. Males make up the vast majority of individuals with bank accounts and mobile wallets, indicating that there is still a significant gender gap in the use of digital financial services.

With regards to mobile wallets, 59% of the study respondents are familiar with the mobile wallet service, and 14% of the population uses mobile wallets. The study showed that the use is more spread among males, the main age brackets (25-44), self-employed individuals, and individuals who possess bank accounts. 3 out of 10 individuals expressed their intention to register a mobile wallet in the future, especially females and the younger age groups and employed individuals. The primary motivation for using mobile wallets is to receive financial aid, followed by the necessity to transfer money and, finally, online shopping. 27% of mobile wallet users have payments cards linked to their mobile wallets compared to 17% according to a similar study conducted last year.

The study showed that 78% did not face any problems registering a mobile wallet account, compared to 62% in the previous year's study. 84% indicated that they have no difficulty using their mobile wallets compared to 65% last year. While the customer experience has improved, cash withdrawals remain the most popular transaction, indicating that dealing with cash is more convenient.

Moving to CliQ and digital banking services, the study showed that individuals' familiarity with the CliQ service for instant payments offered through bank accounts is still limited, as only 18% are aware of this service. This segment is concentrated in the age group between 18-44. 82% indicated that they did not encounter any difficulties while using CliQ, and 55% expressed their satisfaction with it, while 59% are aware of CliQ and intend to try it. To facilitate the transition from the service trial to acceptance and frequent use, it will be necessary to improve the user experience and reduce technical challenges. 52% of CliQ users have indicated that they will continue to use the service as long as it is free, implying that charging fees will reduce the number of users. CliQ is mostly used to send money to family and friends and pay or services and goods, and split said payments between payers.

As for QR payments, the use is still limited but is expected to grow with the spread of this payment method through bank account applications via the CliQ service. The QR payment service is currently available through mobile wallets, and only a small number of merchants accept it. Mobile banking services are most prevalent, increasing the chances of using CliQ and QR payments as they spread and more awareness is provided. Bank advertisements, whether communicated via SMS, emails, or customer service centers, are the primary source of information on digital financial services. This puts greater responsibility on the banks to advertise these services. The study revealed that females are more interested in trying CliQ and QR payments as compared to males. According to the study, the 18-34 age group was also more likely to use CliQ and QR code payments. On the frequency of usage, CliQ ranked the most used compared to other digital banking services. In the 25-44 age group, the majority use digital banking services on their own, while those 35 and higher call the customer service center to complete the onboarding to services if they require help. Fund transfers and splitting payments for services and goods are the most common transactions.   

Generally speaking, it is fair to say that individuals who never thought of using the aforementioned services believe they do not need them at all. Also, the second reason this group does not consider using these services is their lack of trust as they believe these services are insecure. With regards to cheques, the study showed that 9% used cheques during the past year, 70% of whom were on the receiving side. As for eFAWATEERcom for instant bill payment, 70% of the service users use it on a monthly basis or more frequently, and the service satisfaction rate is 89%.

Despite the rise in technology use, many still prefer to purchase their daily needs in traditional ways, such as going to the stores rather than ordering them online. It is noticeable that eCommerce is more popular among the small and medium age groups. 1 in 10 individuals have used eCommerce in the past 3 months. Most of the eCommerce transactions involve purchasing products through social media or related websites. These purchases are concentrated on clothing, accessories, and home needs.

Survey participants sample

The study included a survey sample of 1013 people from all governorates of the kingdom with a male-to-female ratio of 55 percent to 45 percent. The survey sample included Jordanians, refugees, temporary passport holders, and children of Jordanian women. 55% of participants in the survey own a financial account, whether a bank account or a mobile wallet. The study showed that more than 95% of individuals use the internet on a daily basis, which is an essential enabler of dealing with digital payments.

Recommendations

The study findings indicate that there is a pressing need to enhance awareness of digital financial services. Furthermore, because financially excluded groups lack confidence in the security of given services, greater incentives and a focus on the benefits of these services are needed to persuade people to try them, increasing the likelihood of adoption and use. In terms of use cases, financial institutions should attract more merchants, increase their acceptance of digital payments, and enhance digital payment channels for users.