According to the bank, the new innovation should allow users to accomplish a variety of things on WhatsApp, including account-to-Mpesa/Airtel Money transfers, inter-account transfers, bill payments, and balance inquiries.
Absa Bank Kenya Managing Director Jeremy Awori said the move is part of the bank’s commitment to continue investing in digitally-led creative solutions during the service’s official debut.
It’s also part of the government’s pledge to spend at least Sh1.6 billion on digitalization, automation, and innovation this year.
“This is a particularly exciting time for Absa, not just because this technology is first-to-market, but also because it will fundamentally change the way our clients interact with us.” In essence, we’re changing banking from a series of complex transactions to a simple WhatsApp discussion. We have a long and illustrious history as a bank of many firsts, and we are thrilled to continue this tradition today.
Kenya has the largest percentage of monthly WhatsApp users in the world, according to the Global Web Index’s 2020 Social Media User Trends Report, with over 97 percent of all internet users in the country using WhatsApp. Absa sees this as a once-in-a-lifetime chance to boost digital adoption of its vast range of services, according to the bank.
Absa’s debut of WhatsApp banking, according to the bank, ushers in a new era of banking in which transactional, conversational, and personalized banking services are seamlessly integrated, fast, and dependable. This proposal transforms chatbots from a simple Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) service to a comprehensive and user-friendly banking interface.
Based on its Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and analytics capabilities, the digital platform will measure and anticipate customers’ wants and demands, and as a result, offer multiple options through the bank’s core systems and delivery platforms.
“With this solution, each of our customers gets access to a 24/7 digital personal banker who can help them perform transactions upon receiving simple instructions on chat. So, the same way one would call their Relationship Manager or go to the branch to initiate a transaction, now you will just need to issue instructions by chatting on WhatsApp,” Awori said.
To make it even more personal, the bank has given this functionality a human personality as a dedicated, always-on banking assistant, named Abby.