Banks are continuously improving the way they service their customers. The biggest advantage for any bank and its customers today is mobile banking, says Neil Thompson, Head of Product and Customer Value Proposition at African Bank.
Its popularity, he explains, lies in the fact that customers have access to their bank account 24/7. For banks themselves the advantage is that they can be available to their customers 24/7 too, anywhere at any time.
“Remember the days when banks closed at 3pm and were not even open on Saturdays? Long queues were the norm at month-end and if you missed closing time you simply had to come back the next day.
“The banking environment is far different today. Banks are no longer restricted to business hours or locations. Yes, customers can still physically visit a branch, but why would they when they can cell phone bank instead – at their convenience?” says Thompson.
Ease of use has also made the switch over easy for customers, he adds.
“Even customers with a limited to zero knowledge in financial services, can get to grips with this new form of banking quickly and easily.
“Customers are empowered to carry out any kind of transaction they need to – transfer funds, open an investment account, exchange currency or apply for a loan – all with a quick turnaround time and at their convenience,” says Thompson.
“These are all services only a bank teller or clerk could complete in the past. The power is now in the customer’s hands, literally, with nothing more than a banking app on their phone.”
Another advantage is security.
With mobile banking, customers get alerts about any and all activity on their bank account. Being able to do banking on a mobile device from home or the office, or at the mall for that matter, also minimises the risk associated with making large deposits at a bank or withdrawing large amounts of cash.
The fast-paced mobile banking environment is also good for Mother Earth, Thompson adds, because banks can now send statements to customers via email instead of printing these out, and customers can download statements on their mobile app too.
“We are also leveraging this online relationship with customers to deliver added value to them, such as updates on new products and services, linked to their lifestyle needs and current investments, for example.
“This personalised service enhances the customer experience and allows us to understand our customers on a level we couldn’t before they started asking ‘how do I register for cellphone banking?”
Some customers, he concludes, are nervous about the security implications of banking online.
“Reputable registered financial services providers have top-end security and firewalls in place to protect their customers’ information, but the onus is also on the customer.”
Keep these safety tips top of mind when using online banking:
- Avoid doing banking on public Wi-Fi
- Change your passwords often
- Don’t open suspicious emails
- Sign up for text alerts about activity on your bank account
- Make use of your smart device’s security measures
- Update your computer and mobile device regularly