Absa Bank customers will no longer have to ensure that they have an active data bundle to transact via the online application, the bank announced on Thursday.
The Barclays-owned group said that it had concluded deals with network operators to offer its customers reverse billing.
“The agreement that Absa has signed with Cell C, MTN, Telkom and Vodacom allows the service providers to charge data costs back to Absa rather than our customers, allowing them to enjoy the full benefit of banking from their mobile device and buying airtime even if they have depleted their pay-as-you-go or monthly contractual data allocation,” said Jan Moganwa, chief executive of Customer Solutions at Absa Retail and Business Banking.
Free data could boost the bank’s ability to convince its nine million customers to conduct mobile application banking.
The banking application has had more than 500 000 installations on smartphones, according to the Google Play Store.
Absa has been on a mission to catch up to banking digital rivals by driving a “digital first” strategy.
“One thing we’ve realised in this innovative race: It’s not just about being first to market, it’s ‘What is appealing to customers?’ We’ve realised that not only does the digital team have huge pressure to be better than all our traditional competitors, they’ve also got pressure to get to market fast and do things really quickly,” Craig Bond, chief executive of Retail and Business Banking at Barclays Africa Group told Fin24 recently.
Gemalto said that the internet age of connected devices offered new opportunities for banks.
“Real-time data can make a difference to the risk a bank is taking when they provide a financial product. The ability to monitor residential and commercial premises, in addition to collecting social media, spending, and other credit behaviour data, allow banks to make better commercial decisions,” said Christelle Toureille, vice president for Marketing for Middle East and Africa at Gemalto.