Absa has unveiled a beta version of its new banking platform to its 1,25-million online banking customers offering control and ease-of-use for individuals and small business customers.

The overhaul that has been in development for two years represents a distinct step-change from what was a purely transactional online service to a comprehensive suite of transactional and non-transactional services, as well as tools to better manage monthly spend and assist with financial planning.

“Absa Online, and Absa Online for Business, as the services are known, are designed to offer customers a single view of their financial affairs – a portal to one’s entire financial world,” explains Arrie Rautenbach, head of retail markets at Absa.

The platform’s rich graphical interfaces present a snapshot view of one’s day-to-day banking, investments, other assets, and liabilities – allowing customers to better plan their financial affairs.

Rautenbach adds: “By providing this consolidated, dashboard view, we are putting the customer in control and empowering them to make the right financial decisions, budget more effectively, and unlock new opportunities for growth. Absa’s online banking customers hold investments and assets totalling trillions of rand.”

The new, intuitive, navigational structure allows customers to easily flow 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.

Rautenbach says that this week’s launch is the first phase of Absa Online. “We have built a flexible and scalable platform that will allow us to develop new services over the coming months and years, and provide customers with a comprehensive personal financial management platform.

“There are a number of innovations planned for later in 2012 designed to further refine the personal financial management capabilities and give customers an even richer banking experience.”

The service has also been designed specifically with Apple and Android tablet devices in mind – meaning it will render and function intuitively with these touch-technology devices.

Absa Online is expected to stimulate a renewed increase in online banking registrations and activity levels as customers gain familiarity with the new functionality and the ease-of-use.

This launch follows a successful trial with the bank’s 36 000 employees over the past few months. The trial allowed the project team to identify and solve any defects and gauge the response from users, via more than 1 300 feedback emails received from employees.

Absa Online processes R1-trillion in transaction values in a single year.