As mobile internet connectivity grows, African youth are fast embracing the opportunity to connect, converse and transact on the web.
According to the GSMA (Mobile Economy Report 2015), mobile internet penetration in Sub-Saharan Africa was expected to reach 38% by 2020.
This has largely been driven by lower costs of smartphones, which the GSMA says have decreased by 20% since 2008.
A rapidly growing local app market and easy access to games and social media have captivated the youth market.
Although the Millennials generation is a Western construct, African youth (18 to 34) – particularly the urban youth – are displaying similar online behaviour patterns to their counterparts in developed countries.
And, while the older generations may accuse them of being driven by a need for instant gratification, the youth’s expectation of simple, fast and always-on service is shifting how organisations design their offerings.
Banks, meanwhile, have built their credibility by portraying themselves as the bastions of the economy, institutions designed to protect your money, with caution built into their organisational DNA.
While this is important, of course, it isn’t something that necessarily attracts their fastest growing potential customer base.
Here are five pointers to help African banks attract and retain customers, no matter what their age, and to ensure they are preparing for future generational expectations.
1. Prepare to be compared
At the very outset, it’s important for banking institutions to understand that the younger generations are swiftly getting used to having information at their fingertips.
Research published by Pew Research Centre (2015 Global Attitudes Survey) shows that African youth are jumping at the opportunity to engage online.
In Tanzania, those aged between 18 and 34 are 17% more connected to the internet than their elders. This climbs to a significant 31% in both Nigeria and Kenya.
The research also shows that the connected youth are active on social media on a daily basis.
Social media is being used to ask questions and to make comparisons based on experience. Price comparison websites are also making it easier to make informed decisions.
This significantly changes the dynamic of how the youth choose products and interact with brands. It is obvious then, that banks will need to change the way they engage with the younger generation. Designing for a frictionless experience must be priority.
2. Just make it work
User experience becomes a key issue when servicing customers across generations.
Based on their engagement with global sites, the connected youth have an expectation that everything must work immediately, offer real value, in a seamless experience.
While the younger generations have a better understanding of technology, continued literacy challenges and multiple regional dialect demographics adds complexity to the user interface served up by financial institutions.
Complex security terms such as phishing and pharming can cause mistrust of the service. In many instances, this lack of understanding may lead to customers avoiding digital channels altogether, which in turn drives up the cost of delivery for the banks.
Making use of technology that appears exceptionally simple to the user takes away the fear factor.
When it comes to authentication, banks must guarantee their customers’ protection against phishing and other digital fraud vectors without the costly and clumsy use of one-time passwords.
These may give the appearance of good security, but they are less effective and overly complicated, particularly for those accessing services on their phones.
Removing complexities at the very outset of the transaction resonates with both the older and younger generations.
3. No one reads anymore
No generational cohort reads lengthy warnings or instructions.
People will click through to the end of an instalment or process without actually being fully aware of the details – or this may again increase their mistrust of the service.
Moreover, in our experience, when an organisation uses text-heavy instructions, abandonment rates shoot up. When communicating instructions, the “keep it simple” rule reigns supreme.
4. Markets are not the same
Companies also need to understand that new markets work very differently.
What may have worked in Botswana, may not be obvious to those in Kenya.
People use and engage with technology, language and each other differently in every market. This includes generational quirks.
Banks will need to tweak their user engagement depending on where they are operating.
Working with partners who have experience in a region allows a bank to learn from their experiences, which can save time and costly mistakes.
5. Innovating for future generations
We see a lot written about banks becoming simple transaction pipes. To avoid this, they must adapt in order to provide better value for their customers. This can be achieved in three ways:
A simple user authentication, which has excellent security, is a great way to build trust with customers.
Once this is in place, you can confidently open up your channels and add new services.
Banks can then begin leveraging their merchant network in order to start on-selling their products to their customers – essentially becoming an aggregated merchant platform. By nurturing trust, banks are able to capitalise on a captive customer base and bring to bear vast economies of scale.
The complexities of catering across borders and language barriers and for different generations with different user expectations are enormous. However, if banks invest in technologies that are simple, seamless and flexible, they can not only ensure all age groups form trusting, lasting relationships with them, but also take an important step towards building new revenue opportunities for the future.
Co-founder and VP Business Development at Entersekt
Dewald Nolte helped establish Entersekt in 2008, and later took up the position of VP of Business Development for the company.
Having identified an urgent need for innovative new approaches to securing digital transactions and other sensitive data, he and his fellow co-founders set out to build a business that is dedicated to providing transaction authentication using digital certificate technology deployed to mobile phones.
FG Makes u-Turn on Bank Account Re-Registration
Federal government on Friday apologised for asking all account holders in financial institutions in the country to re-register their personal details.
Recall that the federal government had on Thursday ordered that all persons holding accounts across financial institutions and insurance firms should complete and submit self-certification forms to their respective financial institutions.
The notice issued by the government to that effect read, “This is to notify the general public that all account holders in Financial Institutions (Banks, Insurance Companies, etc.) are required to obtain, complete, and submit Self – Certification Forms to their respective Financial Institutions.
“Persons holding accounts in different financial institutions are required to complete and submit the form to each one of the institutions. The forms are required by the relevant financial institutions to carry out due diligence procedures, in line with the Income Tax Regulations 2019.”
The directive raised eyebrows, as account holders already possessed Bank Verification Numbers.
Following widespread condemnation that trailed the directive, the Federal Government backtracked on Friday, saying the fresh guideline was not for all Nigerians.
The government attributed the development to misinformation.
The clarification issued by the government on Friday read, “We apologise for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons. The message contained in the notice does not apply to everybody. FIRS will clarify Nigerians on the objectives of the directive.”
Also on Friday, FIRS, in a statement posted on Twitter, explained that the guidelines were only for non-residents, as well as people paying tax in more than one country.
Parts of the FIRS statement read, “The Self Certification Form is basically to be administered on Reportable Persons, holding accounts in Financial institutions, that are regarded as “Reportable Financial Institutions” under the CRS.
“Reportable persons are often non-residents and other persons, who have residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or country.”
“The information that indicates an account holder is a resident for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction, is expected to be available to Financial Institutions during account opening processes, for the KYC and AML purpose.”
Stanbic IBTC Bank Disowns Lagos ATM Fraudster
Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC has disowned Tope Olajide, 22-year-old fraudster arraigned for theft of customers deposits.
The Bank said this in a statement on Wednesday.
The statement said: “The attention of the management of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC has been drawn to news currently circulating in the media, about the alleged arraignment of staff of the Bank on charges bordering on the theft of customers deposits.
“The Bank would like to clarify that the defendant, a 22-year-old Tope Olajide, IS NOT, and was at no point in time an employee of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC.
“The alleged culprit was apprehended around 7:30 am, on Thursday, 27 August 2020, by security operatives after he was exposed by CCTV footage using ATM cards he had allegedly stolen and converted, to make withdrawals from the accounts tied to the stolen ATMs.
“The CCTV footage also showed the alleged culprit pretending to assist customers at ATMs whilst also attempting to fraudulently dispossess the customers of their ATMs.
“He was subsequently arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrate Court on Monday, 14 September, for stealing the debit cards of two customers and using them to unlawfully withdraw the sum of N427,000.
“The Bank would also like to implore members of the public to be security conscious when conducting transactions at ATMs. Customers are advised to report any suspicious actions around them to security operatives who are usually stationed around the Bank’s ATMs, when carrying out transactions at any of our ATM locations.
“As an organisation, we hold dear the values of integrity, and we will continue to prioritise the safety of our customers effectively.”
Buhari Okays Establishment of CBN-Led Infraco
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of an Infrastructure Company (Infraco) to be driven by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in partnership with the African Finance Corporation (AFC) and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
This is coming on the heels of the foreign reserves’ slump to $36 billion following a cocktail of monetary policy interventions by the apex bank to cushion the scathing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
Mr Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, made these disclosures in Abuja at the annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) with the theme: Facilitating a Sustainable Future: The role of Banking and Finance.
According to him, Infraco would enable the use of private and public capital to support infrastructure investment that will have a multiplier effect on growth across critical sectors.
“This entity would also be able to raise funds from the capital markets and mobilise long term finance to address some of our infrastructure needs, while providing reasonable returns to investors. “We believe this well-structured fund can act as a catalyst for growth in the medium and the long run. The support of the banking community will be important in achieving this objective.
“A well-built infrastructure system, comprising hard infrastructure such as roads and ports, and soft infrastructure such as broadband penetration, can have a multiplier effect on growth by enabling the expansion of business activities in the country”, he explained.
On foreign reserves, Emefiele attributed its crash to the decline in foreign exchange earnings and subsequent adjustments in the value of the naira to the dollar.
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