In excess of R8 million worth of transactions were recorded since the launch of Absa’s In-store banking facility, a clear sign that the payment medium has gained traction in promoting financial inclusion.
Since launching its In-store banking facility in 2011, Financial Services group, Absa, has seen over R8 million in transactions recorded over point-of-sale devices at several of its existing merchant retail stores.
This is according to Arrie Rautenbach, Absa Head of Retail Markets who adds that In-store banking has processed more than 50 000 transactions since January 2012.
Driven by the quest to provide comprehensive banking services outside of the bank’s traditional branches, Absa’s In-store banking facility affords Absa customers the ability to transact at selected merchant retail stores, to withdraw from or deposit money into their accounts, purchase air-time, obtain mini-statements and check balances at point-of-sale machines.
The innovation has been identified by Absa as a key tool to achieve the goal of financial inclusion through branchless banking, while creating foot-flow and additional revenue streams for retailers.
“As the leading Bank in South Africa, Absa not only endeavours to be at the cutting edge in terms of providing financial services, but we are also cognisant of our broader responsibility in facilitating the inclusiveness of the large numbers of previously unbanked and under-banked South Africans,” says Rautenbach.
He adds: “This channel has brought about obvious payment convenience to our customers who are now able to perform basic banking transactions at their local shop at reduced rates. Reaching the R8 million transactional benchmark is reflective of the facility’s success in providing easier and cheaper options that will contribute towards bringing this sector of the market into formal banking.”
As of the end of August 2012, there had already been more than a thousand Absa In-store banking facilities deployed across South Africa. The service was enhanced to offer new functionality over and above normal purchases to include basic banking transactions.
“By capitalising on our extensive retail footprint, we were able to extend our In-store banking facility to many of our existing retailers countrywide, thereby ensuring maximum reach and accessibility to a larger customer base. We aim to attract a large percentage of the unbanked and under-banked market, while expanding the scope of transactional platforms for our existing customers,” says Rautenbach.
Absa has also revolutionised the way financial services reach unbanked and under-banked populations. Since the inception of the bank’s Remote Account Opening Application over 40 000 accounts have been opened making banking more accessible, especially to those who previously had no access to banking.
Absa currently holds the largest number of cellphone banking customers with approximately 3,9 million registered users. The bank maintains its position as the largest retail bank in South Africa in terms of customer numbers, with a growing base of seven million entry level clients.
“These numbers underscore the importance of the work Absa is doing in developing access to formal financial services to a large unbanked population, spread across the country. Our milestones provide for a bright future in making affordable banking accessible to all,” concludes Rautenbach.