Capitec banking app: “the jury is still out”

Capitec Bank feels that its current mobile banking services cater for its clients’ needs but hasn’t ruled out other means of giving mobile users access to banking services, according to the bank’s representative.

Currently in the mobile banking market, most major banks in South Africa have released, or are working on, banking applications for smartphones which provide direct access to one’s account for a host of different services.

First National Bank led the way with the launch of its FNB Banking app on 20 July 2011, and since then has seen over R2 billion in transactions made through the app.

Absa‘s banking app was pegged for a Q4 2011 release, but has been delayed due to back-end problems.

Nedbank has revealed its intention to release a banking app “shortly”; and Standard Bank is yet to announce any of its plans for a smartphone banking app.

However, Capitec told MyBroadband BusinessTech that it doesn’t feel pressured by competitors’ plans.

“We tend not to follow what the competition is doing and try to present the market with cost-efficient, value-added products that makes their money management easier,” said Capitec.

“We realise there is an ongoing debate about mobile sites that will automatically always be up-to-date, versus an ‘app’ that might be simpler at the time of download, but becomes outdated fairly quickly, bringing unnecessary complexity back to the client’s life.”

“At this stage the jury is still out on the approach on our side. We refrain from launching ‘stuff’ just to be first, but rather take the organic route and try to be very simplified, transparent and low cost in our approach.”

Currently Capitec offers its clients mobile banking through unstructured supplementary service data (USSD), which it notes has seen a great uptake due to the system’s simplicity and accessibility.

When asked if it has seen a big demand for other channels of access, such as an app, Capitec insisted that the USSD system was meeting their clients’ needs, both for high- and low-income groups.

“This does not mean that this will be our only approach, it just means that what we offer our market at this stage answers most clients’ needs.”

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Capitec banking app: “the jury is still out”