Absa and Vodacom form mobile financial services partnership

The South African bank and mobile network operator have signed a multi-milliion rand cooperation deal. “The project is expected to lead to developments in the near field communication arena and usher in a new era of convenience for the customer,” says Absa.

Absa and Vodacom
PARTNERSHIP: Absa and Vodacom deal is likely to lead to NFC products

Absa, South Africa’s largest retail bank, has signed a multi-million rand deal with mobile network operator Vodacom which is designed to accelerate the pace of mobile innovation and expand the range of banking and mobile services on offer to consumers — in both South Africa and in other African countries.

“These innovations include a ‘tap and go’ payment system, machine-to-machine (telemetry) solutions in the insurance space and consumer education delivered via mobile devices, bundled mobile and financial service offerings and free Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) banking,” says the partners. “By working together, each company will be leveraging collective resources, expertise, infrastructure and new technologies to consistently deliver valuable services to its customers.

“Absa has also rolled out the first phase of a ‘tap-and-go’ payment system at Coffee Connection, Vodacom World in Midrand,” explains Absa’s Gavin Opperman. “As part of this pilot programme, select Vodacom staff members can now simply tap their special ‘tap-and-go’ card against a machine instead of swiping it for payment. The project is expected to lead to developments in the near field communication arena and usher in a new era of convenience for the customer. Our plan is for this system to eventually see the cellular handset become an alternative to cash and cards as payment mechanisms.”

The deal helps Absa to fulfil its objective of working strategically with mobile operators to enhance the propositions delivered to its customers, Opperman added, explaining that the collaboration with Vodacom provides Absa with the infrastructure to enable cross-selling and the bundling of products to both organisations’ customers.

“The respective technical capabilities will create value-added benefits aimed at our customers through the provision of innovative products and services,” he said, allowing the two organisations to better assist their customers by sticking to their fundamental principles of convenience, choice, access and safety through the strengthening and diversification of their product offerings.

“By using Vodacom’s infrastructure in conjunction with what Absa offers, we also envisage opportunities emerging from specific areas such as cross-selling and bundling of preferential products to our customers,” says Pieter Uys, Vodacom’s chief executive officer. “Vodacom’s reach and high speed data networks will enable the groups to deliver new cost-effective services for their combined customers.”

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