Wed. Dec 8th, 2021

Kenyan bank Absa has launched a new solution that allows its customers to access their bank accounts and make transactions via WhatsApp, as part of its commitment to invest at least 1.6 billion euros this year towards digitization, l automation and innovation.

The bank says the solution, the first in the market, will allow Absa customers to make some of the most popular digital transactions on the market.

These include account money transfers to Mpesa / Airtel, transfers between accounts, bill payments, balance inquiry, among others, to WhatsApp.

Absa Bank Kenya CEO Jeremy Awori said the move demonstrates the bank’s commitment to continue investing in digitally led innovative solutions that have the potential to significantly transform the customer experience.

“This is a really exciting time for us at Absa not only because this solution is the first on the market, but rather because it will significantly transform the way our customers interact with us. Essentially, we are transforming banking from being a series of complex transactions into a simple conversation on WhatsApp. We have formed a rich history as a bank of many innovations and today we are delighted to continue this streak of innovation, ”said Awori.

Data from the Global Web Index 2020 social media user trends report, Kenya has the highest percentage of monthly WhatsApp users compared to the rest of the world, with 97% of all internet users of the country active in WhatsApp.

Awori added that the development presents a unique opportunity for Absa to accelerate the digital adoption of its wide range of services.

The bank claims that the introduction of banking by WhatsApp introduces the sector into the new era of banking, which integrates transactional, conversational and personalized banking services in a fluid, fast and reliable way.

The CEO added that the digital platform will measure and anticipate the needs and requests of customers based on their capabilities of Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and analysis and, as a result, will offer multiple solutions through basic systems and delivery platforms within the bank.

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“With this solution, each of our customers has access to a personal banker 24 hours a day, every day of the week, who can help them make transactions by receiving simple chat instructions. So in the same way that you would call your relationship manager or go to the branch to start a transaction, now you just have to issue instructions by chatting on WhatsApp, ”Awori said.
The introduction of banking by WhatsApp introduces the sector into the new era of banking that integrates transactional, conversational and personalized banking services / PIXABAY

The adoption of digital services in Kenya

The launch comes amid a Dalberg finding indicating that 84% of Kenyans say digital devices and services have improved their daily lives, while nearly a third said they had increased their income.

According to the study, 94% of Kenyans use mobile money and 27% use e-government services.

Another 45% say they expect Huduma Namba to improve access to and use of digital services.

It also confirms that Kenyans who are geographically, financially or socially vulnerable are more likely to use only basic digital services, such as sending and receiving payments on their mobile phones or recharging their broadcast time.

“The study reveals that access to practical support is key to helping Kenyans deepen their use of some digital services. 81 per cent of e-governance users have used Huduma centers to support,” he says. .

It also reveals that 40 per cent of e-commerce platform users reported challenges in receiving deliveries due to lack of precise directions and logistical complications.

The finding also notes that efforts to address digital security issues are becoming an increasingly important factor in supporting the adoption of digital services by Kenyans.

As such, the report notes that many Kenyans are concerned about digital fraud and 30% have reported experiencing it.

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“71% of small business owners and the self-employed say that concern about digital fraud limits the use of digital services for businesses,” the report adds.

The report was based on responses to a nationally representative survey conducted between November and December 2020 on more than 2400 Kenyans.

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