South Africa:FNB app attracts 400 000 users

FEB 25,2013


An FNB banking app, which has recently been made available to non-FNB clients, now boasts over 400 000 active users.

So said Farren Roper, head of FNB Connect ISP and business operations, speaking at the ITWeb-Business Connexion Application Services Executive Forum, at Melrose Arch, yesterday.

Roper revealed that the app, which was unveiled in 2011 as the first banking app in SA and Africa, was voted SA’s best app developed in 2012.

He added that FNB was voted the best innovative bank last year at the BAI-Finacle Banking Innovations Awards.

“This means we work harder; it means what we did this year won’t matter next year; it means we are going to have to come up with something better than the ground-breaking innovations we’ve had before. This means we will be looking for new ways to make our customers’ lives a lot easier, every day. Just like we have always done.”

He attributed the exponential growth in the number of active users to the innovations team at the bank. “We are always innovating at FNB. We regard ourselves as rebels in regards to innovations, as we do not want to be caught by the competition,” said Roper.

Also speaking at the event, Paul Steenkamp, head of employment branding and FNB innovators at FNB, said innovations at the bank are growing because employees who come up with the best ideas are rewarded.

“We are always embedding, protecting and nurturing a culture of innovation at FNB,” said Steenkamp.

According to Roper, the secret behind the success of the app was being able to create value, usability, adoptability and desirability for users.

He added that the growth in the use of smartphones in SA has also resulted in huge demand for the app. “About 80% of the world population now has a phone, and 89% of smartphone users use their smartphones throughout the day.”

According to Roper, the biggest users of the FNB app are from Apple’s iOS platform, followed by BlackBerry, Android and Symbian.

Describing how smartphone users use their devices, Roper noted that 92% used them for text messages, 84% for browsing the Internet, 76% for e-mails, 64% for games, 69% for downloading apps, 59% for social networking, and 48% for music/videos.

Also, FNB noted that the highest smartphone penetration rate of 62% is within the age group of 25 to 34 years.

According to Roper, the number of users is set to get a boost since the bank has opened the door to non-FNB customers, adding the move is also meant to expose them to the experience and simplicity of the app with the hope of winning them over as clients.

FNB made this possible following the addition of eWallet to the app’s suite of services. The bank’s eWallet allows FNB customers to send money to anyone with a valid South African cellphone number.

The big four bank recently announced the linking of the mobile payment service to the banking app, allowing users to buy prepaid airtime, data and prepaid electricity, and send money.

“eWallet users can also make payments to any SA bank account or make selected bill payments,” it said.


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