Banking on the app business

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Banking apps on mobile phones, which use sophisticated security and authentication technology, are starting to offer a wider set of online transactional services to consumers.

This is according to Schalk Nolte, chief executive officer (CEO) of South African fintech company Entersekt. Though fears over security remain one of the last barriers to more widespread mobile transactions, people trust their banking apps and are increasingly prepared to use them to buy more goods and services.

“In future, banks will start using their investment in technology, and the trusted relationship they have with their customers, to offer a growing variety of transactional activities to businesses and consumers,” Nolte says.

“Banking apps bridge the divide between people’s physical and digital identity and provide the means to eliminate fraud from mobile online transactions.”

Using mobile devices, consumers are able to connect with just about any retailer or service provider online – but they don’t know who they can trust. The uptake of mobility has also brought with it a surge in malware and related security risks.

“On the other hand, people already have a trusted relationship with their banks,” says Nolte. “After all – banks have your money.”

He says a banking app on a smartphone is a secure digital channel linked to the real world – and the app can also be used to offer a broader range of services beyond just banking.

“For example, using a banking app can make real-time insurance possible. Say you buy a watch on a Saturday night and want to insure it straight away – where are you going to get hold of an insurer at that time? Using a banking app you can get a real-time location check, take a photo of the watch and have it insured immediately for 36 hours or until it can be specified on an existing policy,” Nolte said.

“To use another example, if you wanted to buy some extra life insurance on holiday to cover an elevated risk activity like rock climbing, you could do it easily and securely using a banking app.”

Nolte says banking apps will offer a level of convenience not matched elsewhere when shopping online.

“Because consumers have a relationship with their bank – it is essentially the custodian of their digital identity – they don’t have to enroll for new services or download or buy anything. The bank also has their card details. As new services become available through the banking app, so new features appear – and people are comfortable with that,” he said.

The business volumes are significant and growing, according to Nolte. In March Entersekt’s technology helped secure and authenticate 110 million app sessions globally.

“Authentication is the cornerstone of trust, and this is how additional services will be brought to market through increasingly capable banking apps. Authentication also enables mobility, and in addition to bringing new products and services to market, can save millions in driving customer services through apps rather than physical locations.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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