Absa Bank’s Digital Channels has seen tremendous growth over the past year with cellphone banking customers increasing by 113% to 1,5-million and Internet banking customers growing by 11% to 1,1-million customers.

In the past financial year, more than R79-billion a month, which translates to over R800-billion a year, worth of transactions were undertaken by Absa customers via the Internet and cellphone banking channels.  
Absa managing executive of Digital Channels, Christo Vrey, says: “Customers are looking for banking that is accessible anywhere, anytime and Absa’s focus has been on providing innovative solutions to attract new digital users and increase usage by existing clients.
“Over the next few years, we expect this to grow even more as customers become more comfortable with banking via digital channels and technology offers even more functionality,”  he says.
The bank’s use of new technology has also helped it to grow its personal loans business by providing an end-to-end service that enables customers to be able to apply for loans online, as well as through cellphone banking.  
The customer applies and the system responds with a quote. The customer then accepts the quote and the system opens a personal loan account and credits the required transactional account. “No more standing in queues or lengthy loan application processes,” says Vrey.
The bank’s information technology developments have also allowed customers to access other services that were previously only available at a physical branch. Customers can now create a budget account on their credit card to pay back over a specified time frame and use the money as cash immediately. In addition, the customer can settle these budget accounts.
“We’re finding ways to help customers avoid having to visit a bricks-and-mortar operation,” says Vrey.
In the City of Cape Town and Ekurhuleni, it’s possible to pay traffic fines conveniently through Absa ATMs and branches countrywide or via Absa Internet, cellphone and telephone banking. Even people who are not Absa customers can pay their fines at an Absa branch.
Other ways Absa is using technology to help customers manage their financial affairs include being able to look up their tax certificates for the past five years online and print it in PDF format.