Absa, South Africa’s largest bank by client numbers, has on Wednesday (10 April), launched its long anticipated banking app for mobile and tablet.
Absa said the app would be the first real, native financial services app for smartphones and tablets in South Africa, available for both retail and business customers.
It is currently available for Android and Apple devices with support for BlackBerry devices expected to be released within the next eight weeks.
“Our app is optimised for smartphone and tablet screens and encompasses a visually rich interface,” said Arrie Rautenbach, Absa head of retail banking.
“The new technology, which also integrates seamlessly with all other Absa digital banking channels incorporates many aspects of traditional transactional services, whilst combining smart device features such as your GPS location to allow for easy and instant search to the closest Absa branch or ATM,” Rautenbach said.
The app utilises a devices contacts to make the sending of airtime or cash to friends and family quick and easy, the bank said.
It noted that these and other unique features such as the addition of an images library are just some of the enhanced functionality features that customers can expect to see as new features and upgrades rolled out every eight weeks.
“The launch of our app simplifies our customer experience, while permitting us integrated digital presence in Africa that offers customers internet banking in 11 countries, mobile banking in 6 countries and a financial services App in 6 countries,” Rautenbach said.
The bank, which boasts 12.2 million clients, had originally earmarked a launch date of Q4 2011, but that was extended into 2012 due to problems with its back-end system. The delay was extended further into Q1 2013.
The app was trialled by a select group of Absa’s staff in November.
Absa embarked on a digital journey with an upgrade to its online platform – absa.co.za – in 2011. This was followed by a refresh of its ATM software and hardware capabilities.
Following the release of the group’s annual results in February, Rautenbach said: “One of biggest growth was seen in cellphone banking client base which grew by over one million customers last year to 4.2 million. Over 40% of personal loans approved were initiated via digital channels.”
“There is no doubt that digital is the future of banking, hence Absa is committed to building significant digital capacity and capabilities in order to make the lives of its customers much easier,” he said.