Banking and Finance

Barclays to introduce Vertical Cards among other innovations after change to Absa Bank Ghana #JourneytoAbsa

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Ever since it was announced that Barclays Bank Ghana will be changing to Absa Bank Ghana in line with Absa Group’s decision to rebrand all its operations by mid-2020, many people have been wondering what they can expect from the Bank that is committed to bringing customers’ possibilities to life.

Absa Group is one of Africa’s largest diversified financial services groups, offering an integrated set of products and services across personal and business banking, corporate and investment banking, wealth and investment management, and insurance. The Group has a presence in several African countries with representative international offices in London and New York. They have approximately 40,000 employees, more than 1,000 branches, and nearly 10,000 ATMs.

Absa is a future-focused organisation driven by progress and a desire to thrive in the digital age. Their ambition is to become a digitally-led bank that is centred around the ever-changing needs of customers. Given these changing customer needs, the Group has invested in digital platforms to offer more convenience and innovation. In 2018, they invested $550 million to bring about new technology and digital platforms to improve customers’ banking experience.

According to Ebo Richardson, the Change Enablement Lead in charge of the transition project at Barclays Bank Ghana, “Once the transition is complete, our customers can look forward to the following innovative products that leverage the Absa Group’s investment in technology.”

Vertical Cards

“Previously, bank cards were designed for a time when paper-based machines that took an imprint of the card and the transaction were still used. In those days, the horizontal orientation made sense,” Mr Richardson said. “Today we use cards differently. 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.”

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The new vertical cards reflect Absa’s vibrant red colour palette and take an unconventional approach to status. “We did extensive research,” Mr Richardson explained. “People across all our segments – from youth to premier and wealth customers – loved the energetic and youthful approach.”

Over and above this, Mr Richardson added, “Smart design elements help you easily distinguish your card in your wallet or purse.”

All cards come with an array of benefits, making it easier for customers to bank and earn rewards. In the next couple of months, our new vertical cards will provide access to nearly 1,000 thousand airport lounges around the world with Dragon pass. Our cards come with an array of benefits including discount packages of up to 40% from our Alliance Partners, 2% cashback rewards on purchases made with your Absa Platinum Credit Cards and many more.

Absa ChatBot

The Absa ChatBot, when launched, 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 Richardson had this to say: “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.”

Biometric access to the Absa app

The Absa app allows customers to pay bills, transact, buy airtime and more. According to Mr Richardson, “Biometric access offers an added layer of protection as customers can use their fingerprints or facial recognition technology to access their app.” Mr Richardson further advised that this is “device dependent” and the feature can only be used if the customer’s mobile device has this capability.

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Family Banking

’We are rolling out family banking to enable us serve the next generation of our customers’’.

Our Premier customers , will be able to have their family members signed on to the Absa  Premier banking offering , with one Relationship Manager for the whole Family,  providing a comprehensive and convenient banking experience for the entire family .

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 Ebo Richardson said.

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. “With the underlying improvements in technological capabilities and connectivity, and the proliferation of mobile devices, we anticipate exciting times ahead as our market gets progressively digitally transformed. You can expect more digital innovations from us that will enhance our customers’ banking experiences!” Mr Richardson said.

“Under Absa, customers can expect a forward-looking bank that is still very cognisant of our role in society,” he added.

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