Since FNB first launched its banking app in South Africa in 2011, consumer use of app-based banking has soared as the major banks continuously find new ways to interact with clients digitally.
Building on from simple transactions, banking apps now play host to a variety of different features – going as far as being fully transactional accounts in their own right.
Across the various banking apps are several basic banking services including simple payments, transferring funds, prepaid airtime, data and electricity and accessing statements and support.
The graphic below outlines the availability of general services on banking apps. Green indicates the service or functionality being fully available, with red indicating it is not available at all. Orange indicates limited services.
For example, the Nedbank App Suite doesn’t have access to forex trading or transfers, but it does provide information on forex and daily rates. The Old Mutual app, meanwhile, will send notifications about other services, not necessarily allowing customers to apply via the app itself.
Banking Apps at a glance
Below, we’ve looked at the more detailed features of the banking apps, including some of the more unique selling points. Note: this is not a ranking or a direct comparison.
Being the forerunner of app banking in South Africa, FNB’s banking app has had the longest time to develop and evolve over the years, and as such has the widest functionality of all the retail banking apps.
In more recent years, the app has incorporated FNB’s share trading platform as well as the Nav suite, which gives users access to a host of additional services like licence renewals and home evaluations and money management systems.
Customers can do all basic banking transactions, and includes GEO payments.
Along with Nedbank, it is currently only one of the two banks that lets clients play Lotto through the app.
- Accounts and balances
- Payments and transfers
- Buy airtime, electricity, LOTTO
- Access to coupons, vouchers and specials
- eWallet and cardless cash withdrawals
- Global payments and forex
- GEO payments
- Digital on-boarding (selfie banking)
- inContact secure messaging
- Share trading, buying Krugerrands
- Additional services through FNB Connect, Nav Home, Nav Car and Nav Money
Standard Bank doesn’t have one mobile app that serves as a platform for its services, but rather opts for different apps that can be linked together.
The native banking app performs all the basic banking transactions, but can be further linked to its securities app for share trading functionality.
This differs from FNB, which handles share trading through the native app, but ultimately provides the same functionality. Forex, meanwhile is handled similarly through the Shyft Global Wallet.
- Make local and international payments and transfers
- Change your payment limits
- Buy data, airtime and SMS bundles
- Buy pre-paid electricity
- Send cash vouchers to anyone with a cellphone
- Stop lost or stolen cards, and order new ones
- Get pre-approval on car financing
- Manage your car and home loans
- Submit and track building insurance claims
- Get stamped statements, bank letters and tax certificates
- Open savings accounts
- View your Stanlib investments
- Link your accounts to your share trading profile
Nedbank has a banking app and share trading platform which forms part of its App Suite.
On top of the basic banking functionality, more recently, the bank has added Scan to Pay and cross-border payment functionality, as well as making it easier for customers to apply for loans.
Along with FNB and Standard Bank, Nedbank is the only other bank to currently offer extensive share trading capabilities – with the group’s share trading platform giving clients access to their portfolios.
Customers can view their order book or cost and current prices. They can place or cancel orders and then trade by clicking on ‘buy’ or ‘sell’, and delve into unit trusts.
Along with FNB, it is currently only one of the two banks that lets clients play Lotto through the app. Another unique feature is allowing for the payment of eBills and SARS filing through the suite.
- A variety of banking functions can be performed
- Tailor-made electronic banking for business with Netbank Business
- Access to Share trading portfolios
- Prepaid purchases
- Manage investments on the go, access investment portfolios
- Find Nedbank Branches or ATMs nearest to you, secure chat and important contact numbers
- View and calculate forex rates of various currencies
- Calculate Home loan, Motor Finance or Personal loan repayments
- Apply for other Nedbank products
- Monitor price fluctuations of shares listed on the JSE
Old Mutual’s Money banking app gives customers access to basic banking functionality, as well as insights into their investment portfolios.
The account has a transactional aspect, and a savings account which is backed by a unit trust. Funds in the savings account can be accessed at any time.
The app also gives access to the MyPortfolio service, which tracks investments, saving, personal cover and retirement portfolios.
- Switch your cards on and off immediately in case of loss or theft
- Buy airtime, data and electricity
- Pay your beneficiaries – even when you’re out of airtime
- Make quick payments to other Money Account holders using their cell-phone numbers only
- Transfer money between accounts
- View your accounts, balances and transaction history
- View Savings and Investments, Personal Cover, Retirement, Income, and Valuables Insurance portfolios
- Deposit cash into your Money Account at any Shoprite, Checkers, Usave, Pick n Pay or Boxer store
Capitec’s banking app offers all of the basic banking services and gives access to budgeting tools to help clients manage their money better.
With the group adding credit services, it also provides an overview of a client’s credit ratings, along with advice on how to improve their scores.
- Do payments and transfers
- Buy airtime, data, SMS bundles, electricity
- Pay a Capitec Bank client using their verified cellphone number
- Pay DStv accounts
- Add, sort, update and delete beneficiaries
- Add recurring (stop orders) and future-dated payments
- View transaction or beneficiary payment history
- Do credit facility transfers
- Stop and/or dispute debit orders
- Email electronically stamped statements
- View credit plan balances and details
- Do credit facility transfers
- View your credit rating and ways to improve it
- Step-by-step guide to create your budget
- Track your spending on the go and take control of your money
- Apply for funeral cover
Along with a brand overhaul in 2018, Absa also released a new banking app, along with a host of other mobile banking functionality (like WhatsApp banking and the ‘app account‘).
Its app, however, is still building up to the same level of functionality of its old version, with new features being added all the time.
While the app currently covers the basic functionality (payments, transfers, statements and support), it recently added access to more services, like applying for overdrafts and funeral cover, and easier access to functionality while travelling abroad.
- View account balances
- Pay people once off or save them as beneficiaries to pay later
- Transfer money between your Absa accounts.
- Buy prepaid airtime, data or electricity for yourself or anyone else.
- Stop and replace a credit or debit card when it gets lost.
- Limit a card to till point use, online use or no use at all with Temporary Lock
- Get stamped statements via the App
- Share banking details with people who need to pay you with a tap.
- Get money without a card from any of Absa’s ATMs with CashSend. Receivers don’t need to have a bank account to collect the money.
- Increase or decrease your banking limits easily.
- Buy funeral cover
Bidvest Bank’s Grow Account is the new kid on the block, and as such the group’s accompanying banking app lacks the more advanced functions of some of the banking groups that have played in the retail sector for a longer time.
However, the bank has adopted a fully digital approach with the account, with customers able to open an account without having to step foot into a branch, and the promise of opening up the world of investment on the go.
While the functionality is not currently available on its banking app, the bank has a partnership with EasyEquities for an investment account attached to its Bidvest Grow Account, which may come to mobile platforms at a later date.
- View accounts and their balances
- View previous transactions
- Pay another Grow Account holder by using their mobile number
- Inter-account transfers between accounts
- Make a once-off payment to any beneficiary
- Pay an existing beneficiary or add and pay a new beneficiary
- Prepaid services
- Deposit cash into your Grow Account at any standard Shoprite, Checkers, Usave or Boxer store
- Change your card status for safety reasons
- Manage your savings