Absa says that it has been leading the way in online banking since it launched South Africa’s first online banking service in 1996. The bank’s new online banking platform, Absa said, represents a distinct step-change from the previous generation of online services and from its competitors.
In South Africa, FNB is widely seen as the top bank, and according to the company, its success is based on low bank fees, innovative banking and a rich reward programme.
However, Absa argued that its innovations provide a strong argument for clients to use its services instead of FNB.
“Absa has led the way in online banking since it launched South Africa’s first online banking service in 1996. The establishment of Absa Internet Access (which became SA’s third largest ISP by the time of its sale to Vox in 2007) was a crucial factor in igniting online banking locally,” said Arrie Rautenbach, Absa’s head of retail markets.
“Since then Absa has led the way in online banking, in terms of sheer customer volumes, breadth of financial services available online, and the rate of innovation in this channel.”
According to Rautenbach, one trillion rand is processed annually by their 1.3 million online banking customers. “At peak periods of activity – notably at month-end – we see up to 9000 people transacting via our online platform at any given moment,” Rautenbach said.
Rautenbach added that the recent public release of Absa Online – Absa’s new online banking platform – represents a distinct step-change from its previous generation of online services and from the bank’s competitors.
“We are taking the online channel from being a purely transactional service, to a comprehensive suite of transactional and non-transactional services,” said Rautenbach.
“From this portal, neatly behind a single sign-on, customers can view and manage all Cheque and Savings accounts, Credit Cards, Mortgages, Vehicle and Asset Loans, Investments, Unit Trusts, and even Online Share Trading accounts.”
Absa further said that its online interface features a host of South African “firsts”, including Web 2.0 style personalisation elements, visually-rich graphs and calculators to provide a consolidated, dashboard view of one’s personal finances and messaging tools giving the customers direct access to customer support.
“In the realm of innovation, Absa continues to lead the local market – most recently with a raft of innovations in the contactless payments and self-service channel spaces,” said Rautenbach.