ADVANCES in AI, internet technology and the rise of the smartphone are having a fundamental effect on business and how we conduct and interact with these businesses.
There are virtually (!) no traditional businesses left and non-more so than in the banking sector, where the widespread adoption of ‘tech’ has led banks to exploit their traditional data – i.e. customer demographics, geographical positioning, spread of commercial activities – by offering through in-house expertise and technology partners, a wide range of convenient services to their client base and beyond.
SA’s banking sector is internationally recognised as being innovative and many could argue that it places our banking sector ahead, some say, way ahead of banks in Europe and North America.
At his recent presentation at the AfriTech Week webinar, FNB Connect CEO Bradwin Roper detailed this transition and trends both internationally and in the FNB environment.
“An in-house technical competence and partnerships with telco’s and other tech firms has allowed us to develop multiple ‘platforms’ that have not only revolutionised the banking experience with a basket of innovative products, but has allowed expansion into the areas of lifestyle, gaming, entertainment and even through digitisation, integrating with government databases such as Home Affairs, providing the consumer with easy access to these portals from a single source.
Opening the Aladdin’s Cave of interactive platforms, relies on four fundamentals – access to the internet, affordability – mobile tariffs and handset price, consumer readiness and content and services.
“In many ways our Connect service is an on-line retail store where vouchers can be purchased and are redeemable across a wide range of retailers in food, transportation, gaming and other entertainment allowing flexible payment options for the purchase of say, airtime.
“In line with FirstRand’s group philosophy of shared value, Connect services aim to make life better, regarding internet connectivity, which aligns to the United Nations Sustainability goals have taken steps to address affordability and devise availability to the majority of South Africans.
“In our region of sub Saharan Africa the cost of 1GB of data measured by the percentage of monthly GDP per capita, is the highest in the world at around 4,2% (2019) compared with say Europe at 0,8%. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015, set an affordability target of 2% and during 2020, FirstRand via a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) agreement with CellC were able to slash data costs to R59/1GB which at 1,41% is even lower than the UN’s SDG making our tariff more affordable to more people.
“In order to address handset affordability, we currently have a variety of affordable device offers running over 24 months and will be launching exciting new offers before the end of 2021” he concluded.