Cards with a tap-and-go functionality are already being issued to customers while an app that will allow them to use their fingerprint or facial recognition to unlock and gain access to their accounts is about to be unveiled. Staff Writer KITSO DICKSON reports on a transition that comes with added customer convenience and protection
On Monday 10 February, Barclays Bank Botswana will officially adopt its new name, Absa Bank Botswana Limited, subject to regulatory approval. Barclays’ change is part of one of the largest, most ambitious corporate rebranding projects in the continent’s history and part of a broader, multi-country rebrand programme by parent company, Absa Group Limited.
As part of this transition, the bank unveiled the latest in card technology this week – the vertical debit and credit cards – which it says will allow customers to transact more conveniently, as well as offer them a wide range of benefits, including earning discounts with various reward partners for all transactions at shopping outlets across Botswana.
The bank’s MD, Keabetswe Pheko-Moshagane, says in staying true to the bank’s ambition of becoming a digitally-led bank, the new cards will have a tap-and-go functionality that will be deployed at a later date, which makes them future ready.
Through this card, Pheko-Moshagane says the bank’s affluent customers, being Premier clients and Platinum credit card holders, will enjoy access to nearly 1000 airport lounges around the world through Dragonpass. The new card will be rolled out in a phased approach throughout branches in order to ensure that the bank does not disrupt customers’ service experience. “You will remember that we have been clear in our communication that existing Barclays debit and credit cards will still work on ATM, POS and online as they always have,” she notes.
Additionally, the bank will be launching the revamped Absa Mobile Banking app which, apart from allowing customers to pay bills, transact and buy airtime, will also allow them to use their fingerprint or facial recognition to unlock and gain access to their accounts. Pheko-Moshagane says this biometric access will give customers an added layer of convenience and protection, which is critical in combating cybercrime and other fraudulent activities. “We are now nearing the conclusion of our transition journey and are proud of the milestones we have achieved thus far,” says the MD.
To-date Barclays has rebranded 103 out of 118 ATMs and 26 of 32 branches countrywide, all of this in four months. “I am more than confident that we will meet the deadline set for mid-2020 for the rebrand,” says Pheko-Moshagane. “The transition will enable us to create new propositions and solutions, as well as offer differentiated services and products to our customers, redefining their banking experience with us.”
Even though some of its branches, ATMs and other assets have already started to look like Absa, with a warm, vibrant red colour palette, the bank has continued to operate and trade as Barclays until its name officially changes next week. Parent company Absa Group Limited is one of the largest banking groups in Africa with a balance sheet of more than USD 91 billion (as at 30 June 2019), operations across 12 African countries and a representative office in London, with another one soon to open in New York. The group has approximately 40,000 employees, more than 1,000 branches, and nearly 10,000 ATMs.