Absa readies for full 2.0 online banking

Absa expects to roll-out the full version of its new multi-million rand online banking platform within the next six weeks, says Christo Vrey, head of Absa Digital Banking.

The group  rolled out a beta version of the site to customers in May, following a successful trial with the bank’s 36,000 employees in January which allowed the project team to identify and solve any defects and gauge the response from users.

“We continue to lay the platform for a simpler user process,” Vrey said, noting that following a glitch three weeks ago which saw the bank’s online service crash several times, the platform has “completely stabilised”.

The digital overhaul has been in development for two years, according to Vrey, who added that it represents a step-change from what was a purely transactional online service, to a suite of transactional and non-transactional services.

Absa Online is “no longer about just transactional requirements, but gives Absa customers easy access to all products and services within the group.”

According to Absa, the new interface lets customers easily navigate between various aspects of the service; making payments has been simplified; the design has been modernised; and new features have been introduced such as a secure, text-based messaging channel between the customer and the bank.

According to Vrey, in the early phase of the beta launch, a large number of Internet banking users who had logged in had already opted to use the new version of Absa Online – with highly positive initial feedback.

He said that Absa would keep the ‘old environment’ for several months after the switch over. “The next 12-16 months will be targeted around continuous deployment of services that will enhance value for our clients

The Absa Group is listed on the JSE and boasts 12.1 million customers, offering a complete range of retail, business, corporate and investment banking, insurance, and wealth management products and services.

At 31 December 2011, the group had 718.2 million shares in issue and a market capitalisation of R101.27 billion.

The group had assets of R786.7 billion, and 9,541 automated teller machines.

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