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Three years on, FNB’s banking app hits the million device mark

There’s been plenty written about South African banking giant First National Bank (FNB)’s banking app. Rightly so too. When it launched in 2011, it was the first of the big South African banks to have an app which allowed its customers to do their banking on smartphone or tablet. A slew of innovations, along with a few potholes (geo-payments anyone?) in the intervening three years have catapulted it to a million device installs.

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In a release marking the milestone, FNB says that the fact that it’s reached this point shows that South Africans are becoming more tech-savvy.

“This milestone is testament to the progressive nature of South Africans and their choice to bank digitally, which adds value to their lives via convenience and simplicity,” says Giuseppe Virgillito, FNB Digital Banking.

According to the big blue bank, a part of the First Rand group, the most popular transactions on the FNB Banking App are payments, account transfers and prepaid products. Other interesting transactions that show popularity are Send Money, LOTTO & Powerball, Geo Payments, iTunes gift codes, and card services such as cancellations, upgrades and ordering of new cards.

“With payments, transfers and prepaid purchases being the top three transactions on the App it indicates that our digital banking customers prefer the option of on-the-go banking that allows them immediate access to their everyday banking transactions,” says Virgillito.

On average the Banking App customer base logs in to the app 15 times per month, with a significant portion of customers logging in over 40 times a month.

An analysis of the app customer base shows that the vast majority of people using the app are fairly young:

  • 59% are Millennials (aged 14-34)
  • 36% are Generation X (aged 35-53)
  • Five percent are Baby Boomers (aged 54-71)
  • Millennials account for approximately 60% of transactions on the App
  • Generation X, accounts for approximately 50% of the rand value spent on the App
  • Millennials transact more frequently but spend smaller amounts, while Generation X spend higher amounts in lower volumes
  • eBucks are used even more by Millennials to pay for purchases at 76%, than Generation X at 21%

According to Virgillito, usage of the app has grown 65% over the past year, its biggest growth spurt to date.

Ultimately the app is meant to help reduce many of the frustrations we encounter with traditional banking. And if Virgillito is to be believed, it’s working on that front.

“Users of the app have reduced their reliance on branches, ATMs, and call centres to almost zero transactions per month,” he says. “With continuous development and growth of this channel, we will be able to offer more value, convenience and cost savings to our customers, building on our digital ecosystem and reducing the dependency on cash and physical banking infrastructure”.

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