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Absa to introduce new innovation in banking |17 February 2020

Absa to introduce new innovation in banking

Mr Pillay (Photo: Louis Toussaint)

Since Barclays made the switch to Absa Seychelles Limited earlier this month, people have been wondering what they can expect from the bank that is committed to bringing customers the number one banking experience in the country.

Seychelles NATION sat down with the head of products at Absa Seychelles Limited, Murugan Pillay, to get details of the four new products the bank will be rolling out in the coming months.

One of the unique products that will be associated with this rebranding is the ‘Vertical Cards’. This represents a drastic change from its horizontal cards.

Vertical cards are designed to be better suited to how customers actually use them these days, whether in the ATM, swiping, tapping or safely stored in their wallet or purse. These cards are designed to be as future-proof as possible, so all new Absa cards will soon be tap-and-pay enabled.

“The tap and go functionality will be for customers who want to do quick purchases without putting the pin,” said the head of products.

The Smart design elements also help you easily distinguish your card in your wallet or purse.

“The new vertical cards reflect Absa’s vibrant red colour palette and take an unconventional approach to status. People across all our segments – from youth to premier and wealth customers – love the energetic and youthful approach,” said Mr Pillay.

Absa ChatBot is another product that has been launched by the bank in order to better assist its customers.

The Absa ChatBot will be available all hours of the day, every day, to answer customers’ questions. Powered by artificial intelligence, the Bot becomes smarter the more questions are asked of it.

Explaining the rationale behind this innovation, Mr Pillay said that “some people will always prefer to come into a branch to ask questions, others prefer the call centre, but many others are beginning to embrace a more digital way of life. By using the Bot, customers can find answers to their questions in their own time and at their convenience”.

Customers that love to travel will be in luck as Absa is also partnering with DRAGON PASS to offer a new service.

“Dragon Pass is an app that will help our customers access more than 800 airport lounges in over 300 cities across 100 countries affiliated with the Dragon Pass programme worldwide. You can also enjoy discounts at airport spas, nail bars and restaurants when you travel,” said the head of products.

The service will be available to its premier prestige customers. Customers will have to download the Dragon Pass app and a membership and activation code will be sent for them to be able to access the app where they will then be prompted to enter their card details.

“The benefit of this is you can purchase access to the airport lounge of your destination directly from Seychelles, the service is totally paperless and we are the first to offer this service,” said Mr Pillay.

Customer innovation lies at the heart of Absa’s strategy. The group continues to invest in the sorts of technologies that will lead to improved experience and convenience, as it works toward becoming a scalable digitally-led bank. Another service we will be offering will be the My SME Toolkit

“Entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are key drivers of economic activity and growth in our country. Absa’s digital toolkit enables SME businesses to perform certain functions online,” Mr Pillay said.

SME is a big sector in Seychelles and one of the challenges in this sector is that customers struggle to build a business plan because they depend on someone else to assist them and they have to pay for that.

“The SME tool will help our clients run their business by helping them with their income statement and balance sheet etc,” Mr Pillay said.

He noted that the app will be free for one year and afterwards customers will have to pay a fee to the provider.

Mr Pillay also noted that more digital innovations are expected from Absa that will enhance the customers’ banking experiences.

He added that under Absa, customers can expect a forward-looking bank that is still very cognisant of its role in society and that the main goal of Absa is to have a digitally led bank which will make it easier for customers to deposit cash through ATM and limit the queue in branches.


Christophe Zialor

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