Absa Bank introduces a new wallet for WhatsApp banking in South Africa

February 8, 2024
2 min read
Absa Bank
  • South African Absa Bank has introduced ChatWallet, a new wallet for direct banking services on WhatsApp.
  • Users who do not have a bank account can manage their funds using the ChatWallet. 
  • According to Absa, the new launch aims to promote financial inclusion and improve access to entry-level banking services in South Africa.

Absa Bank, a subsidiary of the Absa Group, provides retail, business, and corporate banking solutions to customers throughout South Africa. The bank ranks in the top three as one of the leading banks in South Africa by assets.

The new wallet launch follows the introduction of its ChatBanking tool on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp in July 2018. Absa said it has reached over 10,000 customers since launching the ChatBanking platform.

In 2018, Access Bank, UBA, and First Bank South Africa announced their banking services on WhatsApp concurrently with Absa. However, Absa asserts that its new wallet offers distinctive channels of use, pricing, and product offerings.

With over 90% of Internet users using the app, WhatsApp is the most widely used social media network in South Africa. Its usage is predicted to reach 28 million by 2026, up from 23 million in 2021. In the same way, the number of internet users in South Africa is expected to increase by 17% between 2024-2027.

The new wallet available to WhatsApp users features a standout menu to aid a smooth transition to a transactional bank account. 

Additionally, services on the app include sending and receiving payments, airtime and data purchases, managing beneficiaries, and cash withdrawals and deposits.

Eligibility for use includes being at least 18 years old and having a valid Rica'd SA 10-digit mobile number linked to WhatsApp. 

“For added security, users will be prompted to undertake a biometric registration and create a PIN, which will be required to access the wallet at each use,” Absa said. Furthermore, it will conduct additional identity checks for user verification.

Aside from South Africa, the Absa Group operates in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, and the Seychelles.

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In 2021, Absa Bank Kenya launched "Abby," a WhatsApp banking solution for basic transactions. In addition to bill payment and balance inquiries, users can use the service for transfers between bank accounts, M-Pesa/Airtel money, and other popular mobile money services in Kenya.

Meanwhile, in January 2024, Centenary Bank in Uganda launched a WhatsApp banking service, CenteWhatsApp, which supports account balance inquiries, money transfers, payments, loan applications, and real-time notifications.

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