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Banks missing cryptocurrency opportunity in SA

By , Group CRO at Merchants
South Africa , 27 Jun 2022
Mat Conn, Group CRO at Merchants.
Mat Conn, Group CRO at Merchants.

As cryptocurrency gains incredible momentum in South Africa, local financial institutions are being presented with a massive opportunity for growth in this area – as knowledge and trust remains fairly limited.

A Q1 2022 consumer survey by Merchants found that 53% of respondents had little to no knowledge of cryptocurrency; while only 14% felt they had a strong hold on the subject, and 23% remained neutral.

Despite this, there is certainly an appetite for investment into cryptocurrency locally.

According to crypto investment platform, Luno, South Africa is in the top-ranking nations for crypto trading on the continent, with daily asset trading values currently exceeding US$35-million.

Additionally, the 2022 Budget Speech made it clear that the South African government is aware of the growing number of locals investing in the different types of cryptocurrencies and even proposed the establishment of regulatory bodies to safeguard owners and investors.

Importantly for financial service providers, almost half of the sample said they’d be more likely to trust and invest in cryptocurrency if it was offered through their existing bank.

When it comes to their money, consumers want relationships built on trust. There is a real opportunity for banks to get involved in cryptocurrency as it begins to really take off on the continent, rather than waiting until it is more established – by when consumers are likely to have a preferred platform or partner who they have built that trust with.

Since those aged between 18 and 24 were most likely to have a better knowledge of the subject, banks could be instrumental in providing cryptocurrency related education and services to those aged 25 and older – and winning over the 23% who remained neutral.

Most important in building this trust with consumers is providing a tailored and positive customer experience (CX).

There is a gap in the cryptocurrency industry around CX – as platforms grow rapidly without proper investment into this or access to the right resources.

The survey found that while most consumers don’t need to contact their bank more than once every few months, they preferred human interaction when reaching out and dealing with their bank – making a CX partner an important investment.

South African contact centre agents are highly skilled in problem solving – which is an important trait when dealing with customers and their assets.

Those investing in cryptocurrency, especially for the first time, are likely to need to contact their bank more frequently – reaching out for information and advice. Financial institutions with dedicated CX teams will be filling an important gap in the market.  

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