First National Bank (FNB) on Wednesday announced the launch of its latest innovation, the FNB Banking Application (App), for Smartphones and Tablet computer devices, a first in South Africa.
The Banking App - FNB’s latest mobile digital channel - combines the benefits of banking with the power of a Smartphone or Tablet computer device to deliver a unique user experience that only an App can offer. Michael Jordaan, CEO of FNB says the Banking App speaks to FNB’s strategic drive to be the leader in innovative banking through the use of technology.
“At FNB we are constantly looking at ways to improve on our innovations, staying one step ahead of our competitors and consistently adding value and choice for our customers.”
The FNB Banking App launches with Android, Apple and Blackberry devices with additional platforms to follow soon.
“In an increasingly digital world in which Smartphones, Tablet devices and Apps are changing the way we communicate and live, the introduction of the FNB Banking App will enable us to widen our offering allowing us to provide our customers with convenient banking solutions and great user experience,” says Jordaan.
The Banking App has an extensive roadmap, but upon launch will allow users to have immediate and secure access to their bank accounts; view account lists; view a detailed transactional history; perform transactional services like transfers between accounts, as well as pay beneficiaries.
“The solution will give our customers a convenient, anytime, anywhere digital banking solution, rich in user experience. We are glad to say that this App is a home grown creation and has been developed in house by FNB Connect, the bank’s internal Internet Service Provider. Our App will provide our customers with better performance than traditional web based means of banking. The market can expect to see a lot more of our existing innovations incorporated into it and a number of new mobile innovations dovetail from the App roadmap,” added Jordaan.
In addition to banking services, a few of the value added services include allowing customers to find FNB branches and ATMs using location based services, as well as access to an immediate FNB branch list directory, making free calls to any FNB contact centres and cheap outbound calls to other numbers. The Banking App also has functionality for users to view Foreign Exchange rates.
South Africa currently has an estimated 16% Smartphone penetration, which according to information technology Research Company Gartner will ramp up to 80% by 2014. Global sales of Tablet computers and Smartphones are predicted to exceed PC, notebooks and netbooks in 2011. 
The App market is also predicted to grow by 60%.
“We aimed to use the unique capabilities of the Smartphone and tablet device to make banking a rich, informed and exciting experience for FNB customers. Some of these value added services such as the ability to make free calls to FNB and the ability to locate branches and ATM’s on your Smartphone and Tablet devices is only the beginning. We are very excited to be the first bank to offer this incredible user interface exclusively to FNB customers. We are also very proud to be able to launch this innovation on many different devices including, amongst others, music players like the iPod touch as well as cater for the majority of the tablet market in the Apple iPad. We are covering 3 out of the top 4 operating systems in the world with Nokia Symbian to follow shortly” says Farren Roper Head of Products and Markets at FNB Connect.
“We understand the demand for instant and ‘on the go’ banking from our customers and our App provides easy access to banking through a single sign on process. One step is all it takes to safely access your bank account.”
“The App was designed for quick deployment into new and existing markets as it works off any network and off a 3G or WiFi access medium. Smartphone and Tablet device users and require mobility and multi-functionality and we designed our App with this user profile in mind. The App gives the multi-tasker a quick, one stop and convenient banking experience,” comments Roper.
To use the service customers who have Apple devices can download the App from the Apple App store, Android customers from the Android Market and Blackberry customers can get the App from the Blackberry App world. Another alternative is to follow the links to the App stores from FNB Online. Transactional banking is ring-fenced to FNB customers post login, but anyone can download the App from their device’s App stores to access pre login services.