Ever since Absa did its cross-platform rebranding last month, bits and pieces of its ChatBanking on WhatsApp platform have been available to the public to use. Now the South African bank has made it available to its customers in a fully fledged form as of today.

This is not the first time that Absa has ventured into the bot-powered ChatBanking space, having launched similar offerings on Twitter and Facebook Messenger in the past.

“Our customers already use WhatsApp to share photos, have real-time conversations and even solve their business issues,” adds Arrie Rautenbach, CE of Absa retail and business banking.

This latest addition now means that Absa is the first financial institution in the country to feature such a service on all three platforms.

For those unfamiliar with the offering, ChatBanking on WhatsApp is an automated messaging service that will be available to users with an Absa account. Users will also need to have access to the Absa mobile banking app, in order to facilitate payments and other features.

Speaking of which, ChatBanking on WhatsApp supports six different South African languages, and is capable of being operated via type or voice.

Added to this is the ability to do several of the basic transactions that one would on the fully fledged banking app, such as paying beneficiaries, making balance enquiries and checking credit scores (via TransUnion).

Furthermore, pre-paid electricity, airtime, data and Absa Rewards points checking can all be handled by the new ChatBanking platform. There’s also the ability to get a mini-statement showing the last three transactions that went off on your account.

The additional benefit to all this is that the data charges are low as the bot resides within the WhatsApp platform. That said, Absa did not detail the average monthly costs that a user may encounter when using the service.

Since it rolled out in part on 11th July (the same day Absa did its rebranding), Absa says an estimated 10 000 customers have signed up for and used the service, with roughly 300 000 messages having already been sent.

The bank expects those numbers to rise significantly now that this latest iteration is available in full.

“We have seen a great take-up on this platform amongst early adopters, specifically for airtime and data purchases. As technology advances and more customers become connected, bringing banking to where our customers are is important to us, especially as we continue our journey to become a digitally-led business driven by innovation,” concludes Rautenbach.

To find out more about ChatBanking on WhatsApp, as well as all of Absa’s social media-driven services, head here.