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Zimbabwe banks fine-tune digital offerings as branches close

By , Sub Saharan Africa Business, Tech, News and Development Journalist
Zimbabwe , 14 Apr 2021

Zimbabwean banks are zero-rating online and mobile application banking transactions to boost digital banking at a time many are closing down physical branches.

Standard Bank's unit in the country, Stanbic and the local division of First Capital Bank, are allowing depositors on the Econet Wireless mobile network zero-rated access to their online and mobile application banking platforms.

Stanbic said yesterday that depositors on the Econet Wireless mobile network can now “access digital banking platforms without experiencing any data charges.”

It added that the zero-rated digital banking access covers transactions on its mobile application, internet banking and on its website. This means that Stanbic Bank will now be “subsidising the internet service,” according to Patson Mahatchi, the head of personal and business banking.

Banks in Zimbabwe have continued to digitise platforms, for example Steward Bank has implemented Facebook and chatbox banking.

First Capital Bank Zimbabwe has also come up with a WhatsApp-based chatbot, in addition to zero-rating transactions on its digital platforms.

It explained that the Alisa banking chatbot on WhatsApp aims to capitalise on artificial intelligence comprising machine learning and cognitive computing technologies.

The zero-rated access for its digital banking platforms would help “address the issue of banking ancillary costs in the prevailing environment”.

This is expected to address the cost of data, which remains a thorn in the side of local mobile services subscribers who connect online mostly through Facebook and WhatsApp bundles.

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