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African banks eager to WhatsApp with clients

African banks eager to WhatsApp with clients

African banks are increasingly looking to integrate WhatsApp as a viable channel through which to facilitate 2-way realtime customer interaction and financial services.

According to B2C communication SaaS solutions provider Clickatell, several financial institutions – including Absa Bank, GTBank, First Bank of Nigeria and United Bank of Africa (UBA), have launched the service.

Clickatell has established partnerships with the banks, to provide among other services, WhatsApp Business API. According to the company, this enables users to "send out notifications and conduct 2-way conversations with consumers right within WhatsApp."

Pieter De Villiers, CEO of Clickatell says more companies are realising the potential of chat solutions.

"We are delighted to build on our long running relationship with both WhatsApp and brands with the WhatsApp business integration across all of our offerings. Businesses have just begun to realise the power of chat based engagement. We are determined to be the go-to partner of choice for businesses globally."

Segun Agbaje, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) said the Bank is looking to provide more convenience to Nigerians through the new WhatsApp service channel it launched on Wednesday this week.

"By leveraging the WhatsApp Business Solution, we are continuing to expand our service channels as part of our commitment to making banking, cheaper, faster and readily accessible to customers wherever and whenever they choose to bank."

UBA, which has customers in both East – and West Africa, confirmed in a statement issued yesterday that its chat banking is set for launch in September 2018.

Chuma Ezirim, Group Head for e-Business at FirstBank of Nigeria, which launched its WhatsApp banking platform yesterday, said theBank has established that WhatsApp is the preferred method of communication by many of its customers.

"We are constantly seeking new ways and opportunities to meet customers at their preferred touch points and we understand our customers are engaged on WhatsApp. Customers' expectations are constantly changing and it's our duty as a customer-focused bank to ensure that they are provided with the means to carry out banking services through any channel they desire."

In South Africa, Absa says more than 10 000 customers have registered since it launched chat banking on WhatsApp service on 11 July 2018.

Arrie Rautenbach, Chief Executive of Absa Retail and Business Banking said the bank is now looking at how top add to the transactions that can be performed through the service.

"We have seen a great take-up on this platform amongst early adopters, specifically for airtime and data purchases. As technology advances and more customers become connected, bringing banking to where our customers are is important to us, especially as we continue our journey to become a digitally-led business driven by innovation. In the near future, customers will be able to receive important messages which they might choose to subscribe to, through the WhatsApp service. This is the future of banking. It is the future of Absa and it is what our customers want."

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