Trustworthiness is the most important consideration when Singapore consumers choose a financial service provider, according to a recent survey.
Consumers listed trust as the biggest factor influencing the reputation of companies in the retail banking and life insurance sectors, according to the poll of 500 people last month.
Good service is another key factor, said Mr John Lim, chief executive of Reputation Management Associates, which commissioned the bi-annual survey.
"These two factors have consistently exerted top influence in the past surveys and are likely to dominate, given that we are approaching business uncertainty," he added.
"The rise of social media has also helped to amplify customers' feedback, giving rise to a new kind of public accountability.
"In times of business uncertainty, companies can enhance their reputation by being more transparent and honouring their promises."
Consumer trust was cited as the most important element for a bank to build a good reputation, the survey findings showed. This was followed by good customer service and a bank's ability to value its employees.
On the other hand, bad customer service and cyber-security issues were the two most negative factors affecting a bank's reputation.
The survey again ranked DBS as having the best reputation among the banks, followed by OCBC, which was also second when the survey was last done in 2013.
United Overseas Bank was the big mover, going up from fifth then to third now, likely a result of its 80th anniversary brand campaign this year.
NTUC Income had the best reputation among life insurers, with Prudential next and Great Eastern third.
The survey also suggested that digital payments have yet to generate mainstream awareness, despite the strong push by the banking sector to develop cashless payment solutions.
Only 40 per cent of polled consumers were aware of mobile apps as a payment method and just 28 per cent knew of contactless card payments.
Meanwhile, consumers rated NTUC FairPrice as having the highest reputation in the supermarket sector, followed by Sheng Siong and Cold Storage. They noted that good customer service was the most important factor in a supermarket operator's reputation, followed by trust and competitive pricing.