Categories: Banking

Nedbank rolls out data-free mobile app as zero-rate revolution continues

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Zero-rating is looking like a soon to be industry standard in the banking sector. Late Last year we saw Stanbic Bank make a splash when it became the first bank in Zim to zero-rate its banking platforms. That was quickly followed up by First Capital Bank earlier this year. Now we have the third entry with the announcement that Nedbank has made its app data-free with a new upgrade that comes with zero-rate capability.

The zero rating of the application has also come with a new look Nedbank banking app. Besides the new sleek looking user interface, Nedbank has added:

  • Biometric login which they are calling “spoof proof”.
  • A new account opening facilities for ease of access.
  • Instant query logging for any errors or mishaps.
  • Foreign currency banking.
  • SME & Business mobile banking registration.

The second point is also another milestone for Nedbank. Last year the bank launched account opening via USSD and now it has added the same functionality to its mobile banking app. Doubling up account opening like this is a really good in my opinion.

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More importantly, Nedbank did it in the right order on mobile. Nedbank first addressed the need for the unbanked who don’t have access to the internet, a local branch or might not have a smartphone.

Adding the feature to the bank app completes the set. By this I mean Anyone can now open a Nedbank account by walking into a branch, on USSD, online via Nedbank’s website and the bank app.

Circling back to zero-rating, it looks like Nedbank’s data free facility will, like with all the other banks that have launched this, be available to Econet subscribers only. Now, this isn’t Nedbank, Stanbic or First Capital’s fault because it looks like Econet is the only mobile network operator that is receptive to this kind of innovation.

The ball is now in NetOne and Telecel’s court to ensure that their subscribers can enjoy the same benefits on all levels that Econet customers seem to be getting every other week.


Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

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  • Are the banks paying Econet for the zero rating? I would like to think that they are amd it is more an Econet initiative whereby they get bulk payments from the banks (who have the cash) than from the bank clients (who don't)

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    • Most likely yah. It's been available in SA for years, you set up a website or app and then have the operator bill YOU for the data when your customers access your services. Zero rating is probably a misleading term - it's not the same as with Econet's own services where nobody pays: this time somebody IS paying, it's only that it's not the ordinary user but rather the publisher of the app/websites paying. It's a just a modern variation on the age old "call us toll free" where the company would foot the bill if you called their special toll free number. This zero rating thing would be a perfect prize for those app startup competition - better than cash prizes that get burnt on fancy gadgets and lavish offices that the business can't yet afford. Techzim it would be nice if you could dig deeper and find out what Econet charges for this service, how companies apply etc. I doubt they will be that secretive about it, I would love to know what data rates those banks get charged for "toll free."

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      • Actually there are no fixed rates for a single client from econet. These are deals that are discussed between the bank and the services provider and each deal can be different depending on a very large number of factors. So I am sure techzim will have a hard time trying to get those as each deal is confidential between 2 parties

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