Original Research

Digitalisation strategies in a South African banking context: A consumer services analysis

Candice Louw, Cecile Nieuwenhuizen
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 22, No 1 | a1153 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v22i1.1153 | © 2020 Candice Louw, Cecile Nieuwenhuizen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 September 2019 | Published: 05 October 2020

About the author(s)

Candice Louw, Johannesburg Business School, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Cecile Nieuwenhuizen, Johannesburg Business School, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Background: In the advent of the fourth industrial revolution, Internet-only/digital-only banks are offering alternative approaches to facilitating online transactions and banking in the absence of physical branches. As a result, traditional, offline banks may possibly experience increased pressure in growing and retaining their customer base.

Objectives: The objective of this study is to understand the fundamental differences between traditional and digital-only banks’ business models and digital user experience strategies from a consumer services perspective. As a result, in this research, we established to what extent traditional South African banks have embraced service digitalisation and compared this to the services offered by South Africa’s first digital-only bank (launched in early 2019).

Method: By means of convenience sampling, we selected the five biggest traditional banks and the first digital-only bank in South Africa (as recorded at the start of July 2019) and conducted a comparative analysis of the core digital services that were offered to consumers.

Results: Overall, mobile-optimised services were identified as a key digital business strategy, thereby highlighting the importance of a mobile-first approach not only to traditional and digital-only banking services strategies but also to digital business model formulation in general.

Conclusion: While the overall South African banking landscape and banking user experience may be moving towards digital-first and mobile-first, the need for access to banking technology and services 7 days a week necessitate not only mobile-first, but accessible-foremost (i.e. access to infrastructure that facilitates access to online banking technologies, both remotely and on premise) banking business models.


digital banking; digitalisation; online banking; mobile banking; user experience; consumer services.


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