Why customers in Tunisia don’t trust their banks : Survey findings Part 2

The title seems to be a declarative statement that gives a final description of the situation between customers and banks. It is really the case as all participants express their complaints towards bank services. They feel, they are poorly treated and they don’t trust the financial operations forwarded by the banks. 

How customers perceive the relationship with their banks

Referring to the 411 participants,  customers are in doubt about the bank’s services. They feel that their savings and resources are not safe. They said that banks treat them as a source of fortune and not as customers.

What standards do customers consider before they choose a bank?

The closeness of a bank to the customer’s settlement or the place where he works is the main advantage that the customer considers when choosing to deal with a particular agency.

So this is quite relevant for location-based-marketing to attract perspectives in regard to their geographical position. 

Also, the WOM is a ruling factor to turn a prospect into a client.  People are entirely influenced by what friends and family members said and recommend.

This is another marketing point that could be developed in the affiliation programs where people recommend bank services to their community.

But of course, this process needs a complete Customer journey that highlights the different touchpoints and goals. 

Next feature is the customer service and the service speed. So these two indicators are important for customers to evaluate and choose a bank. 

But participants said that the breaking moment appears with customer service and within the reluctant services they receive.  

Top reasons behind the mistrust

Lack of transparency 

This was a very common answer between the majority of participants. They said that they are unsatisfied with the sanctions and high fees that banks apply on financial transactions and salaries. 

Customers used to pay for fees and sanctions without clear reasons behind them. 

Initially, they want to know the parameters of why they should pay high fees or lose a particular amount of money. 

Also, they want an answer with plain language that they understand and not by using financial jargon that they get nothing from. Transparency is their main claim.   

Lack of transparency doesn’t stand only on the fees, but also for the credit request strategy. A participant said that the bank refuses his credit request without explanation although he held the required conditions.

The other one said that he didn’t get a professional and precise response. The agent was just postponing the request without giving an endpoint. 

These ideas make the Tunisian customers not motivated to ask for the loan,  due to the long path journey to get the money and high-interest rate

Bad customer service

Another reason they set is bad customer service.  The agents don’t respond to their requests accurately and lack communication skills. 

In terms of Knowledge, participants said that bank agents are poorly acknowledged. They don’t know too much about digital updates. Added to the mistreatment of customers’ claims.

They asked banks to recruit qualified people who master the communication skills and professional services related to finance and IT soft skills.   

Unfortunately, the common and major reason for canceling a  bank account was the bad customer service that lacks courtesy and flexibility.

This is what customers declared in the open questions section.  For the reasons behind canceling an account.  We allow them to choose more than one reason and they mentioned the following. 

Banks don’t respond to all social paces

The intended strata are young entrepreneurs and students, who are the category of customers that don’t have funds or resources to feed their spendings. They look for comfortable yet clear guidance for their credit requests. 

At this level, banks are expected to invest further in this strata especially if they consider the actual lifestyle in Tunisia.

Today the policy- wave is toward nurturing the private sector to solve the unemployment crisis that has been strangling the Tunisian society for decades.  

The startups are increasing remarkably and online business is glowing. These are key features for the future economy.  This type of business can bring innovative ideas and job opportunities.  It may seem unusual or irrealistic ideas at first glance. But banks need to re-read and support them, as that’s their key role as funders. 

Inability to implement the declared services

This is about The non-confirmation between declared services and the application when a customer applies for certain offers or services that he heard about. 

When a customer comes to ask for a particular offer, he finds too many steps to go through or too many conditions to get that privilege.thus he cancels the idea.

The paperless approach is a claim that customers don’t reach while using existing platforms.

They need to fill forms and hard drafts for different services and they get mad doing that.

Because the bank’s current digital tools are not capable to turn the total banking process online.

Even if banks claim that they are adapting the digital approach.  In the real process, customers need to bring hard docs and they need to visit the agency. 

Lack of technical safety

Other reasons are highly connected to the security of the technical system. Customers don’t count too much on the bank to secure their personal data and account information. ‘’ I am not convinced with the security system in Tunisia’’ a participant’s quote

This doubt refers to the humble infrastructure and ecosystem that banks used to work with.

These ecosystems lack digital stability and they rely on third-party services.  The bank is not the native supervisor of these ecosystems due to the limited knowledge resources dedicated to this department. 

These repeated issues have broken the confidence and customers have become sensitively concerned with safety and confidentiality.  Especially in a world where the networked lifestyle threatens privacy and life security.  


Variable crediting conditions and high-interest rate

73,36% of participants said that the interest margin of loans is their main focal point when they look for a loan.

However, they said that banks are not flexible at this point and they implement high fees on loans which become a heavy charge for customers.

Considering that major consumption credits are for setting or purchasing an apartment. 54,62% said that they ask for a credit to set/purchase a house. 

That means a lot, Banks shouldn’t treat consumption credit as business ones.  settlement loans don’t bring profit and are not submitted for commercial purposes.

People apply for this kind of loan to fill a particular missing in their life.        In other words; To improve their living conditions.

So they will not earn money from building houses, purchasing a car, or while they fund their studies.

The length of credit procedures is a harmful step, participants expressed their dissatisfaction with the way their requests are treated. 

They spend a long time to get confirmation. Meanwhile, their business is pending. waiting for confirmation which is probably uncertain. 

For the interest rate, people said it is a common disadvantage between all banks, and they don’t find privilege in a particular bank rather than another.

However, the interest margin is the main criterion that customers think about while they ask for credit.

Although banks claimed to offer crediting services based on comfortable payment and low-interest rates. they keep the same mindset while dealing with credit requests.   

Smart card Limitations 

When we asked participants,  who said that they don’t use the smart card,  about what prevents them to do that 19,73% said that they don’t trust and 59,19%  refer that to the  High fees on the transactions.

This means that banks’ sanctions and protection system are disturbing customers once they input their financial data in a particular POS,

Because they are unsure about the value of the fee and if that system will protect their data or not. 

Another problem that customers raise is the inability to link the international account to a local account or the smart card. 

Wrap up

Stay tuned for the next part of the survey that deals with Islamic banking in Tunisia.

You can find  the first part of the  report in the following link: The Key matters of E-banking in Tunisia: Survey findings Part 1


Leave a Reply