Omni-channel is the new banking

Technology has been facilitated by “the mobilisation of almost everything and the exponential growth of artificial intelligence,” says George Roussos, Group Executive for Digital and Transactional Banking at African Bank. He predicts that these forces — operating hand in hand, with shifting consumer expectations — will define the banking landscape of the future.

The launch of African Bank’s MyWORLD, he believes, places the Bank at the leading edge of global banking technology today. With its radical multiple bank account transacting capabilities, its highly-functional joint accounts permitting as many as five additional accounts and ten ‘Members’ to join, its lowest fees and having the best savings account in South Africa – it has set the bar for all banks’ technology.

“Our increased and diversified product offering, underpinned by our Omni-channel platform, will enable us to compete favourably against the established and emerging banks,” adds Roussos. “Today’s banking customer takes for granted the concept of anywhere, anytime, multi-device access to their accounts and information. The expectation of customers is today one of ‘everything should be connected like Facebook, as simple as Uber, and as fast and real-time as Google’. This was the driver behind African Bank’s MyWORLD.”

It developed the offering by conducting meticulous research into what South Africans want from their transactional bank. “This revealed that people would like to transact and save together with their family, community or friends, as the case may be – as well as individually. Consumers are asking for more and it all needs to be faster and better, and in the South African context the innovations most sought after were: joint account requirements; Savings Pocket; and access to South Africa’s lowest banking fees,” says Roussos. A ‘Pocket’ is an additional and free budgeting and savings facility linked to your MyWORLD bank account. It earns interest and gives instant access to one’s money.

As the rest of the banking system heads remorselessly towards a digital-only platform, Roussos says African Bank has bucked the trend with its Omni-channel philosophy which recognises the human element as being at the core of banking. “Even though banking through an app has become the default for many customers, there remain many who still value the personal touch, especially for more complex transactions. As we continue to make progress in digitising our customer experience at African Bank, we remain cognisant that Omni-channel includes the critical human side of the equation.

“With Omni-channel, customers can move seamlessly between the channels. They could for instance start in a branch, later pick up where they left off on their mobile app at home, then complete the process by phoning the call centre — with all their progress and information seamlessly transferred along the way. Ideally the experience would be similar no matter how the consumer engaged,” he concludes.


Notes to editor:

African Bank’s MyWORLD offers people the distinctive ability to bank together through shared banking. Up to five additional accounts can be opened under the main account — a total of six accounts, with no monthly account fees on any of the accounts. The Primary Account Holder can also add up to ten Members on any Pocket. Member status allows the member to view the Pocket and to deposit, but not to withdraw or transfer any funds. This functionality can be utilised by informal savings clubs, church groups and any collection of people wishing to save together for a shared trip or activity.

“When we compare ourselves to the Solidarity Bank Charges Report methodology*, MyWORLD is the cheapest transactional account in South Africa,” explains Roussos. When a Primary Account Holder opens a MyWORLD account, they get access to a Primary account and two types of Pockets — a Power Pocket and a Savings Pocket.

A Power Pocket is unique in that it is the first Pocket account in the industry to offer the User full transaction capability. It comes with its own account number, debit card and PIN and earns 5.5% (NACM) interest per annum on positive balances. African Bank’s debit cards are personalised and embossed and are issued instantly on demand, in any African Bank branch — a first in South Africa.

The Savings Pocket allows the Primary Account Holder to save at South Africa’s best interest rate of 6.5% (NACM) interest per annum on any positive balance while enjoying immediate access to their funds.

The key differentiator is that MyWORLD operates on African Bank’s new leading-edge Omni-channel platform that allows bank accounts to be opened and managed seamlessly through all the Bank’s channels, including the website, App, cellphone, in the branches and through the Contact Centres. A customer can open a MyWORLD account online or via the App without having to visit the branch and seamlessly complete the application in a branch or contact centre. “The only requirement to come into branch is to generate and receive their MyWORLD debit card,” explains Roussos.