South African bank Nedbank is set to launch its App Suite in Johannesburg, and while they are one of the last major banks in the country to launch a mobile banking app, the institution is promising its customers a wide range of innovations.
The Nedbank App Suite is a mobile app that works on feature phones as well as smartphones and allows Nedbank users to make transactions and surf the web with some of the most secure technology available. The app also has built-in functionalities such as a calculator, ability to make calls and other financial aids.
The bank will also be launching a Financial Management and Planning application later in the week, which comes after the launch of the Share Trading app to Nedbank staff, which the bank claims is the first in South Africa.
“We have about a 20% footprint or market share in Johannesburg and Durban, and less market share in the wide open and less populated areas in SA. We are not going to catch up in the footprint, but we needed to plan strongly in the mobile space, which is a great strategy driver for us,” said Nedbank CEO Mike Brown.
A major concern for many mobile banking users is security, something which the CEO addressed, saying that Nedbank has employed some of the best technology in the world to secure all transaction and activity.
“Security is paramount for Nedbank. We kicked off our security with Approve-It and we had to find a way to secure it out of the realm of the Internet. So we developed it to make use of USSD to break the link between the user and phishing attacks,” he added.
With the use of Approve-It, Nedbank, to date, has not experienced a single successful phishing attack. “To date we haven’t had a single successful phishing attack. We had to make sure the suit security is of the best quality”.
Adding to the issue of security, Fred Swanepoel, Nedbank’s Chief Information Officer, highlighted the importance of top-notch security.
“Mobile is important, but digital, Internet and security is more important to us. We are confident that we will leap-frog the competition,” said Swanepoel.
Speaking about the planning of the suit, Swanepoel added that Nedbank started planning the suit about two years ago. “We have spent considerable time planning this journey, so that we will be able to adapt to how the future plays out. Mobile is seen as a key access point, and it’s certainly a way of the future.”
Christiaan Brand, Chief Tech Officer for Entersekt, added that the start-up from Stellenbosch was the force behind securing the technology.
“It is important for the technology to identify the correct user and sender, that is why authentication is very important. The technology we used for the App Suite doesn’t rely on the phone’s internal cryptography, no longer relies on the mobile network operator’s phone number and allows the creation of digital signatures,” Brand said.
Brand added that other banking apps blindly trust the connection or trust the SSL on browsers and devices, but the Nedbank tech is different and scalable. “You can start with USSD, and develop it to make use of other technology as well. The encryption also satisfies Gartner’s recommendations for Out-Of-Band Internet authentication”.
“We can see what apps and services our customers need and want, irrespective of the device they have. We have the ability to roll out through one highway to multiple OS apps,” Brown concluded.
The app will be made available to all Nedbank customers on 1 August, but is currently in use by the bank’s employees.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor