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Standard Bank app pushes R430bn

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Standard Bank has revealed that during 2015 825 million financial transactions worth R430 billion were processed through its banking app resulting in a sharp decline in ATM and branch transactions.

Standard Bank has revealed that during 2015 825 million financial transactions worth R430 billion were processed through its banking app. As a consequence of this, branch transactional volumes have declined and ATM and branch transactions now make up less than 5% of total banking transactions. This means 95% of Standard Bank’s transactions are already electronic.

“The vast bulk of Standard Bank’s Personal & Business Banking strategy to 2020 is about how we can use digital capabilities to deliver an even better customer experience,” says Peter Schlebusch, Standard Bank’s chief executive for personal and business banking. “This entails putting customers in control, providing more convenience, and extracting key customer insights from our rich data so that the bank becomes more proactive, relevant and easy to use.”

Schlebusch says Standard Bank has invested heavily in IT infrastructure to ensure that the bank has a single view of the customer, and the customer has a single instant view of their complete banking services regardless of geography, product or customer segment. The app includes the ability to open accounts online, move money across borders quickly and easily, trade shares internationally on 29 stock exchanges and even lodge homeowner insurance claims off a single mobile device.

The move to mobile has been enthusiastically received by customers:

·         Most customers now bank outside of traditional banking hours. A high peak hour is between 8:00am and 09:00am

·         The total number of unique Standard Bank universal banking IDs created to date is more than 600 000

·         Over R5.7 billion in value has been traded on Standard Bank’s Online Share Trading App to date

·         Over 22 000 merchants and more than 200 000 customers have signed up for SnapScan

·         InstantMoney has processed more than R7.5 billion in money transfers and remittances

The bank is upgrading its entire core banking systems in an effort to meet the continually changing behaviour of customers. The fully functional new core banking platform in South Africa is processing substantial volumes, with approximately 570 million transactions processed in 2015, 27% more than in 2014. Across the rest of Africa the bank already has 73% of Personal & Business Banking customers on its new core banking system.

Standard Bank says it will continue to leverage off increased smartphone penetration. In Africa, the Internet is being predominantly accessed by the smart mobile device, for example, in South Africa, 60% of all Internet page views are on a smartphone.

Standard Bank also says it continues to enhance its integrated universal banking app, which allows personal, business and high net worth customers to view and transact with a single digital ID across multiple geographies, including South Africa, Ghana, Namibia, Botswana, Uganda and Standard Bank Offshore, with additional launches in the countries in which Standard Bank operates expected in the coming months.

“We are committed to Africa and proudly call the continent our home. Africa loves mobile. This is why we are so excited about how technology and data is allowing us to get even closer to our customers. We are steadfast on a strategy of tapping into the increasing use of technology, like smartphones, tablets and wearables, across the continent to become a truly integrated internet-based financial services business,” says Schlebusch.

As innovative solutions for an increasingly mobile, tech savvy and cost conscious client base continue to be harnessed, the bank’s vision is clear: To become a digital leader in Africa.

“Our aim is to be always on and always connected, while providing biometric authentication and extensive use of data analytics to personalise the customer experience to a far larger degree,” says Schlebusch.

To succeed in this, Standard Bank has placed the customer at the heart of the bank’s digital strategy, with a remarkable list of first to market innovations to date. These include:

·         The single digital ID across multiple countries

·         Biometric identification for mobile banking

·         An app enabling clients to trade across 29 different stock exchanges off their mobile device

·         24/7 Banking instant messaging service for Private & Prestige customers via WeChat – with further developments imminent

·         A card console to remotely turn cards on and off, and control the countries and the time when the card may be used

·         Snapscan, which enables mobile phone payments using QR codes or iBeacons regardless of where customers bank

An additional first in the pipeline is the first-of-its kind Kidz Banking App, which is a game-like, vividly animated banking app designed primarily for children aged 6-11 years. Just in time for Savings Month 2016, the app was developed with youth education and the improvement of the culture of saving in mind.  It will be linked to a parent’s Standard Bank smartphone app, and features colourful characters – themed on South Africa’s Big 5 – that assist parents in guiding children on money management concepts such as earning, saving and responsible spending.

The customer experience in the future will be worlds apart from what it was just a few years ago. Where customers pressed ten buttons before to conduct a simple banking transaction, the intelligence of the future will better understand and anticipate their behaviour in advance and only one click will be needed to set in motion multiple responses and outcomes. These future digital capabilities will not only be more convenient and engaging for customers, but can also be expected to reduce costs.

“The cost of banking has halved in real terms in the last decade and a lot of it is because of the powerful and comprehensive digital platforms we have provided,” says Schlebusch. “This trend will continue as more consumers utilise digital channels in the future.”

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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