Absa Bank has introduced ChatWallet, a new wallet for direct banking services on WhatsApp in South Africa.
The move, according to Absa, aims to promote financial inclusion and improve access to entry-level banking services in South Africa, particularly for the unbanked population, enabling them to manage their funds conveniently using ChatWallet.
Absa Bank, a leading financial institution in South Africa under the Absa Group, has long been committed to delivering innovative banking solutions to its customers. With a focus on retail, business, and corporate banking, Absa Bank ranks among the top three banks in South Africa by assets, solidifying its position as a trusted financial partner for individuals and businesses alike.
The introduction of ChatWallet follows the successful launch of Absa’s ChatBanking tool on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp in July 2018. Since its inception, the ChatBanking platform has garnered over 10,000 customers, showcasing the increasing demand for convenient and accessible banking solutions in the digital age. While other banks have ventured into WhatsApp banking services, Absa distinguishes itself by offering unique channels of use, pricing, and product offerings with its ChatWallet.
WhatsApp is the most widely used social media network in South Africa, with over 90% of Internet users utilizing the app. This popularity makes it an ideal platform for delivering banking services, with the app’s user base projected to reach 28 million by 2026, reflecting the growing reliance on digital platforms for everyday transactions and communication.
ChatWallet offers a comprehensive range of services, including sending and receiving payments, airtime and data purchases, managing beneficiaries, and conducting cash withdrawals and deposits. To ensure security and compliance, users are required to undergo biometric registration, create a PIN, and undergo additional identity verification checks. Eligibility for using ChatWallet requires users to be at least 18 years old and possess a valid Rica’d SA 10-digit mobile number linked to WhatsApp.
“For added security, users will be prompted to undertake a biometric registration and create a PIN, which will be required to access the wallet at each use,” Absa said. Furthermore, it will conduct additional identity checks for user verification.
Beyond South Africa, the Absa Group operates in several other African countries, including Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, and Seychelles. In 2021, Absa Bank Kenya launched “Abby,” a WhatsApp banking solution for basic transactions. In addition to bill payment and balance inquiries, users can use the service for transfers between bank accounts, M-Pesa/Airtel money, and other popular mobile money services in Kenya.