Absa’s enthusiasm for the mobile banking channel has
paid off with spectacular results. It has become the first South
African bank to sign up one million m-banking customers, following
a surge in popularity of the channel in the past year with up to
5,000 clients registering for the service every day. “From the
registration and usage numbers we’re seeing, 2009 will be the year
in which cell-phone banking develops serious traction in the
market. It is poised to overtake the number of Absa internet
banking clients this year,” Christo Vrey, managing executive, Absa
digital channels, told RBI.

Absa’s m-banking service is offered across three different
technology platforms (secure SMS, mobile WAP internet and
Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) to cater for different
customer segment needs. Each of the platforms allows customers to
make payments, purchase mobile airtime, transact inter-account
transfers, view balances and statements and make cardless ATM
payments using Absa’s CashSend facility (see 10 million customers and counting).

According to Vrey, the most popular types of
transactions are balance enquiries, mini-statements and prepaid
top-ups, with usage spiking in December. In addition, over 40,000
small businesses are currently using the channel. Taking into
account customers who receive account notification messages and
log-on authentication alerts, the total number of clients using
their mobile to engage with the bank now exceeds four


Distribution. Absa - mobile banking customers, 2005 - 2008