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Data costs holding back full adoption of banking apps

Data costs holding back full adoption of banking apps

The cost of data continues to impact on more widespread adoption of mobile banking applications in most markets - while uptake of other digital banking platforms remains sluggish on the continent.

This has seen USSD and SMS banking emerge as prevalent mobile banking platforms in Africa according to Barclays Africa.

"USSD remains the most popular channel across our markets by a significant margin. We expect (banking) application uptake to accelerate as data costs decrease, and the perceptions of high data costs in our markets are addressed," said Nvalaye Kourouma, chief digital and innovation officer for Barclays Africa's continental operations.

In Zimbabwe, the integration of banking systems and mobile money has driven up digital transactions owing to cash shortages in the country.

The financial firm said that in Mauritius and Seychelles there has been improved uptake of Barclays Africa's banking app.

According to the company transactions on its mobile app have reached between 2 million and 4 million per month over the past year.

A McKinsey & Company report African retail banking's next growth frontier, states that nearly 50% of African banking executives under the banking executive survey cited "digital as their number one priority (while) an additional 40 percent cited it as very important''.

Ecobank said this week that its mobile banking application now has four million users with officials saying the bank is geared for enhanced digital functionality.

For Barclays Africa, "the majority of transactions have been mobile wallet transfers and airtime purchasing" for its mobile application in most Africa countries outside of South Africa. Other bank executives say depositors use banking apps to request for information, make transfers and other payments among other uses.

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