Kenya’s Housing Finance Group is the first in East and Central Africa to launch a WhatsApp banking solution.
HF becomes the third bank in Africa to venture into WhatsApp banking in a bid to offer customized mobile services to its customers. The model integrates Artificial Intelligence (AI) in client relationship management.
“Banks are becoming a place where people don’t go anymore and what we are offering is to ensure convenience to our customers,” HF Group CEO Robert Kibaara said adding that the increased use of mobile phones and internet in Kenya drove the decision to introduce the services on WhatsApp.
Jumia Kenya Mobile Report 2019 divulged WhatsApp is the most used social media platform in the country performing at 74 percent.
With the development, customers will earn the privilege of interacting with their bank on WhatsApp for services such as account opening, funds transfers, loans, bill payments, and goods purchases.
HF unveiled its latest product in partnership with the cloud communication firm Infobip, Wayawaya, Kocela, and Myriad.
According to Mr. Kibaara, they had concerns over the security of customer funds before the launch; an issue he says has been sufficiently addressed.
First, to subscribe to the service, a customer is required to save the bank’s WhatsApp phone number on his or her device and thereafter, access to the chat is granted on an individual and personalized basis.
“We employed the services of top IT companies in the country to try and break through our firewall and expose weaknesses in the system before we launch it,” Kibaara said.
Housing Finance becomes the third firm in Africa to set up such a service after South Africa’s Absa and First Bank of Nigeria which launched their WhatsApp banking services in July and August 2018 respectively.
Absa (formerly Barclays Africa) introduced WhatsApp banking to South Africa, a social media banking strategy that enables its customers to carry out instant transactions using the Absa Chat Banking service.