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The mobile banking wars are hotting up. Just a day after Nedbank released a beta app to its staff, fellow South African banking giant Standard Bank quietly slipped out one of its own.
The launch comes just under a year after First National Bank (FNB) launched the country’s first mobile banking app.
Like FNB’s effort, Standard Bank’s app comes with a number of the functions people would be familiar with from internet banking, including the ability to:
- View your available and actual account balances in easily navigated categories.
- Get graphs that compare the state of your accounts.
- See net balances on all your accounts.
- Search for specific transactions and view your provisional, 30-day, 60-day and 90-day statements.
- Transfer funds between any of your linked accounts.
- Pay beneficiaries that have been preloaded onto your banking profile. These are added on internet banking or by visiting your nearest branch.
- Buy airtime from Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Virgin and 8ta. Telkom Worldcall cards can also be topped up. Browse your device’s address book to easily buy prepaid.
The app also allows you to send cash to other Standard Bank users, using just their cellphone number and locate branches and ATMs (another feature it shares with the FNB app).
There’s an obvious question looming here: is Standard Bank going to innovate with its app or just copy others? At the moment, it’s difficult to see any real signs of innovation. If it’s going to use the app as a tool for attracting new customers it’ll have to find some way of differentiating itself and overcoming the handicap of coming to the market so long after FNB.