Turkish online banking report

Banks are essential – so is internet, and it has changed everything about banking by the time it came into our lives. Now the only reason we go to a banks is to deposit cash. We’ve searched about the websites of the banks -which take the first place in adapting to the advantages of technology- and the services they provide. We get results that you might find interesting.

First of all, what are the essentials of a website? Let’s have a look at them.

First Sight:

It shouldn’t be forgotten that the most important success of a website is its ability on customer relations. Aside of the obligation of having the contact information on the site itself, the websites are also obliged to reply every received e-mail in 3 work days as a necessity of the last Internet Law, anyway. That’s why I looked for the communication sections on the websites of the banks in order to start the project. Most of the Turkish or Turkish joint venture banks don’t have it on their websites while all of the foreign ones do. What’s more interesting, banks such as HSBC and Citibank get back to the customers’ mails in a very short while. On the other hand, I think Akbank puts the mails in its document management system. So you get the most effective reply from them although it happens relatively late. But in my opinion, getting back faster is more important on this kind of applications. For me, the most successful bank is Citibank because of that. And the worst is Garanti Bank which even doesn’t have a communication section. It’s nearly impossible to reach them. Yapi Kredi Bank has a very effective press room and it shows the importance they attach to the communication.

Communication:

It’s hardly possible to find the contact info of the in-house departmants, but I find it totally normal when I consider how e-mail addresses are used by the spam mail programs. The best solution on that is applied by The Central Bank, all of the e-mail addresses are encrypted, so they can’t be seen by search engines and spam mail indexing robots.

PR Companies and Press Relations:

The messages you leave on the banks’ websites aren’t supposed to be the issues of PR departments only. Because sometimes the solutions keep on damaging the brand reputation of the bank, especially when the problems are solved without the right communication and that’s why the communication consultants exist. Regarding PR, some of the banks forward the customers’ questions directly to the customer representatives, as if the problem was just a technical subject. Garanti Bank is the first one which makes this exact distinction and I’m sure they’re through a lot of problems because of that. On the other hand, Yapi Kredi drew my attention by directly sharing this kind of problems with their PR specialists. And in order to do that, using a transparent and successful method such as mail lists seems so right to me.

Design:

Most of the bank websites adapted to the general user interface. Again, most of them are aligned top left and width fixed in order to protect the general appearance from changes which may occur due to different resolutions. When using flash, they support even the oldest flash versions. As in the general banking standards, online banking boxes are on the right top corner and they usually can be entered at once. The only exception of this rule is Akbank. In order to see the online banking page, you’re supposed to enter your customer number on the home page and this causes the customer number to reach the bank without password. Almost all of the websites support several browsers. Among of others, only Sekerbank’s website doesn’t support Mozilla derivatives such as Firefox and Google Chrome. Despite that, this website creates problems on Internet Explorer, too: It’s being stopped by Activex and popup controls.

Other than HSBC’s and Akbank’s, all of the websites can extend to full screen even on the computers with high resolution. But Is Bankasi’s is the most successful one about it, and the second one is Yapi Kredi’s.

Akbank’s is the best website on meta tag, which makes search engines properly index and on favorite icons which helps pages visually differentiate.

Sekerbank’s is the only website that uses wrong encoding that may create problems on some browsers, although the websites which have that much of traffic as theirs don’t need it a lot.

Despite the fact that all websites makes their point on transferring their logos and corporate colors to their visual styles, Is Bankasi is the best site to catch the trends of new age users, especially about the transmitting buttons. That’s why, Is Bankasi has become my favorite about site design, order and being user friendly.

Security:

Although being a regular user is necessary to test a website on the security level, it’s still possible to get a general idea. Almost all of the banks use SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption from the home page of online banking to the last point of the process. So, they don’t ask a question and don’t allow the customer to forward any kind of information before the encryption starts. But Akbank’s website is the only exception for that. This website takes the MBB number even on the home page and forwards it to the bank’s host.

Most of the banks use Verisign -one of the oldest brands of the sector- for the security certification. The rest of them use another brand which also proved itself: GlobalSign. Almost all of the websites have the information about where they got the security certification. And the only exception is Eurobank’s. On this website, the only way to get the information about certification is to click on the key.

Security issues are time consuming in the virtual life -just like it is in real life. One of the most important reason behind this problem is the high security precautions making logging in-and-outs harder. Despite the extra costs it creates, sending disposal one time pin to mobile phones is one of the fastest and most secure methods. The most successful applications on this belong to Finans Bank and HSBC. Although I use it as an example at my seminars for a long time, Garanti is still the most monotonous bank about this issue, by doing nothing for the last 4-5 years. And after the most unuseful Java-based website they built years ago, Is Bankasi seems to move forward a lot. They’ve made the usage of their website a lot easier by the effective solutions they provided. After all, I’ve hardy ever heard their name in the recent stories people told me about phishing and that kind of deceitfulness.

Also, Eurobank’s IP restriction and showing customer the last 5 financial operation are among the interesting methods.

Variety of Passwords:

Banks are supposed to be the first ones to create solutions for our lives. For example, they should make you get the funds you need, even if you forget everything when you go out of your house. The best solutions for this kind of situations are provided by the tools which can identify you by whatever you have in your hands at that moment. Garanti Bank’s CepBank (Mobile Banking application) is one of the easy ways which helps you to withdraw cash when you don’t have your ATM card on you. But apart from that, it’s important to have extra security systems like disposable passwords and  one time pin generation device. OTP devices have important advantages such as being easily portable, having programs which can also be loaded to cellphones, mobile signatures and SMS based solutions. Garanti Bank and Is Bankasi seem to have the largest service network on this subject. SMS based solutions can already solve the problems in a short anyway, but expectations can be different through the situations we may face in our daily life and this is also a point that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Mobility:

When it comes to their mobile sites, banks can be divided into three groups: The ones which call their mobile sites “wap” as in the old days, the ones which call them “mobile” and the ones which DON’T have one.

Of course it’s so important to make transactions on mobile sites. But I regret to see that none of the institutions can even properly name their sites. In my opinion, the reason behind this situation is their staffs’ inability to show empathy towards their customers. Besides, the crucial point to be aware of when building a mobile site is the fact that people will use their cellphones to connect to the site. It’ll comfort the customer to use the least number of letters at the moment of typing the name. So, I think it’s best to have an adress like m.onebank.com.tr.

By the way, iPhones which are the new favorites of Turkish customers make it possible for banks to have more functional mobile sites by the help of the different operating system they have. HSBC is the first bank that has been aware of this opportunity about it, whereas Is Bankasi was the one to stand out among others by writing its own mobile software.

The projects which are the products of Is Bankasi-Avea and Yapi Kredi-Turkcell partnerships are two important steps on mobility. And it’s also interesting how Fortis succeeds on effectively servicing through its mobile site although it doesn’t have the support of a GSM operator behind it.

Test and Out-using :

It’s important to be able to test a website while using it. There are a lot of customers nowadays who don’t go to the banks for transactions. There’s even an increase of the number of people who become the customer of a bank without stepping into a branch of it for years. In this case, a visitor should be able to choose a bank only by examining its internet branch. That’s why it’s right to reach the internet branch’s demo. HSBC, Is Bankasi and Deniz Bank use a system which send you your online banking pin at the exact moment you identify your bank card info and cell phone number. But Albaraka Turk and Garanti Bank have created the accounts which lets you have the access to their internet branches. Eurobank also has a link for that on its website but it doesn’t work. For these reasons, Garanti’s and Albaraka Turk’s websites are the best ones on this issue.

Editor’s Choice:

Garanti Bank had owned a great website in the beginning of 2000’s by making a serious technological investment. But then, it didn’t make any progress about it after 2004. The other banks have begun to catch up with it by then. But of course, they’re not done yet. But Garanti’s website has gradually become useless. For instance, the UMPC’s (Ultra Mobile PC) which have become the choice of the new age executives make it impossible even to click on the exit button, not to mention making a proper a transaction. Is Bankasi is the best bank which has recently improved itself to catch up. That’s why I think that this bank will have a lot of online customers in the upcoming days. As a matter of fact the alexa ranking of these two banks has begun to come close to each other. That being the case, my choice is Is Bankasi’s website.

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