Delivering a best-in-class banking experience is one of Absa’s foremost priorities. This is especially true when it comes to digital banking, an area of ongoing growth and development for Absa. Our enduring mission is to become the leading digital bank in South Africa and across the continent while remaining ever mindful of the unique challenges that exist in the markets we serve.
Against this background, we are extremely pleased that our efforts and dedication continue to produce the desired results and attract positive recognition internationally, including at the recent Global Banking and Finance Awards 2022, where we won three prestigious categories.
The biggest win for Absa was undoubtedly the Best Digital Bank South Africa 2022 award. We are very proud to have wrestled this highly contested award and one that means so much in our industry out of the hands of one of our fiercest competitors. In addition, Absa’s multi-award winning virtual assistant Abby, whose addition to the Banking App in 2021 has transformed the way consumers view chatbots, won the Excellence in Innovation – Banking Product award. Finally, Subash Sharma, our Head of Digital Channels and the spearhead of our digital transformation agenda, was named Banking Chief Digital Officer of the Year 2022.
Whilst our recent success on the digital front is a cause for celebration, we recognise that there is still a lot to be done to truly separate Absa from its competitors both locally and across the African continent. Yet, our success serves as confirmation that we are on the right track and that we have the right blend of people, systems and processes to achieve our ambitious targets.
A changing landscape
The Covid-19 pandemic inspired and sped up advancement in the digiverse in South Africa, as it did globally. This was evident with Absa recording a 26% year-on-year increase in activity on our digital platforms at the height of the pandemic between 2020 and 2021. Furthermore, it indicated which behaviour changes or expectations created an opportunity to best respond to our customers, and how this fitted into our overall strategy of feature functionality, customer centricity, quality and security.
Evolving customer experience strategies in digital banking as well as banking in its entirety is always an urgent imperative. We view technology development, the digital revolution, tech-savvy customers and the overall expansion of the digiverse as elements contributing to the evolution of the modern customer. Designing and delivering cutting-edge solutions on a consistent basis to keep up with the rapid pace of technological transformation is nothing less than what our customers have rightfully come to expect from us.
However, the recent success of Absa Retail and Business Banking’s digital efforts did not happen overnight. Over the last few years, Absa has put in significant investment to bring our digital strategy to life. As a result, our digital capabilities have improved tremendously and we have without question solidified our position as leaders in our industry. The solid technical foundation that we have put in place allows us to actively drive the conversion of customer perception. In keeping with our closer to customers ethos, we strive at all times to ensure that our digital capabilities are created with the customer firmly in mind and with a strong focus on product and user experience. This has proven to be the right approach as demonstrated by the large-scale adoption of our digitally native products such as AbsaID and Absa Advantage.
Leading from the front where innovation is concerned is not a new concept to Absa. We were the first South African bank to introduce internet banking way back in 1994, and we were the first bank to bring WhatsApp ChatBanking to our shores in 2018. In addition, Absa was among the first tranche of banks to introduce Apple Pay to South Africa in 2021. As recently as March 2022, Absa launched Mobile Pay, a cost-effective solution which allows users to turn their Android smartphones into point-of-sale devices. From payments to day-to-day transactions, we are always on a quest to find the best ways to improve the banking experience and the lives of our customers. Safety and convenience remain the key pillars driving this evolution. To demonstrate our trust in our own digital capabilities while giving our customers a sense of comfort when transacting on our digital platforms, we are the only bank in South Africa that offers a free Digital Fraud Warranty.
Though not unique to Absa, we offer superior quality features and propositions that form the base for us being the best digital bank. These basic banking functions include:
- Taking a mobile-first view
- Always-on banking
- Accessing account information
- End-to-end account and product origination
- In-channel FAQs and contextual help
- Personal Finance Dashboard
Over and above the propositions mentioned above, we offer the following digital payment solutions to our customers:
- Scan to pay – Customers make payments at retail stores straight from the banking app by scanning the store’s QR Code.
- Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay – These products are all supported by the Absa technical infrastructure.
- Zapper, Masterpass and WalletDoc – Absa is also technically set up to support additional 3rd party digital wallets in a safe and secure manner.
For Absa, innovation is a verb in the present continuous tense. We will not stop until we have positively impacted and transformed the lives of all individuals and communities who rely on our services.