The influence of digital transformation on low-income, rural customers in the large South African banks

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Banks are faced with a need to adapt and integrate digital technologies to augment their competitiveness, increase market infiltration, improve client experience, create efficiencies and promote financial inclusion. With the rapid increase in digital transformation in the banking industry, several challenges need to be addressed for the rural and low-income customer segments. The acceptance, adoption and utilization is very limited in rural areas due to limited or lack of infrastructure, access to technology and knowledge/skills. The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore the influence of digital transformation on low-income, rural customers in the large South African Banks. 13 Banking executives comprising of senior management from the large South African Banks were interviewed using in-depth semi-structured interviews. The data was analyzed using qualitative thematic analysis technique, data reduction, presentation, and conclusiondrawing techniques, a range of responses acquired during interviews were grouped into six key themes. According to the study findings, the elements of the digital divide have been identified as the most important aspect impeding the adoption, acceptability, usage of digital product innovations in South Africa, further findings report that there is a need for comprehensive improvements at the branch level to win clients' trust and confidence in digital banking, which is initiated at branch banker level creating awareness of digital product innovations, as well as educating and training customers on these digital product innovations. In addition, the findings suggest that clients who adopt and utilise digital product innovations are deriving incredible benefits. The study offers valuable recommendations, limitations and suggestions for
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Management in Digital Business to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, Wits Business School, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2022
Digital transformation, Low-income customers, Digital product innovation, UCTD