The future of digital banking

Increasingly, banking services are becoming digital. The trend was made possible by expanding internet access around the globe, and it accelerated significantly during the global pandemic. Nedbank is a leader in digital banking, committed to providing banking services on the go to our clients. Our award-winning Money app is 1 of 3 digital banking channels that we offer to make money management easy and convenient.

However, this is just the beginning – more changes are on the way. Let’s look at a few digital banking trends to watch out for in the future.

The rise of mobile banking

Banking has become mobile for millions of smartphone users. Clients now have easy access to banking services on mobile devices, allowing for greater financial inclusion in the banking sector. Contactless card payments, digital wallets and one-click payments are among the helpful innovations that give clients an alternative to tapping or swiping their cards, or withdrawing cash at an ATM. 

Nedbank’s mobile banking solutions include the tap-on-phone feature on the PocketPOS app, which enables businesses to use compatible smartphones to accept card payments without paying additional fees. We can expect further innovation in both personal and commercial banking on mobile devices in the future – as well as continuous improvements to security features to combat cybercrime, fraud and digital scams.  

Artificial intelligence and banking

Artificial intelligence (AI) is enhancing the quality of products and services that the banking industry offers – and it’s available 24/7. Not only has it provided better methods to handle data and improve customer experience, but it has also simplified, sped up and redefined traditional processes to make them more efficient. 


Financial institutions will need to offer an increasing number of services and products on digital platforms


These days, instead of talking to a human agent over the phone, you’re more likely to deal with a chatbot to help with your banking needs. A chatbot is a software application powered by AI that helps you conduct an online conversation via text or text-to-speech. Nedbank already has Enbi, a chatbot assistant on the Money app and Online Banking that offers help with frequently asked questions about self-service banking. Enbi can help you with everyday banking needs such as opening a new account or resetting a forgotten password. If Enbi isn’t able to help, it will connect clients to a human agent for assistance. 

Then there’s My Assistant, a digital personal assistant on Avo SuperShop that helps you to manage your lifestyle 24/7. Because AI can discern customer behavioural patterns and market segmentation, banks in the future will be able to offer more targeted marketing and improved client experience. Monitoring client behaviour can also help to prevent cybercrime, including money laundering. In the future, banks will rely more on AI to prevent fraud before it happens, instead of the traditional reactive approach. 

The growth of fintech

Fintech is short for ‘financial technology’, and fintech companies are disrupting traditional banking all over Africa, offering transformative technologies (such as apps) that make digital banking smooth and simple. Fintech operations have extended banking services to the unbanked, with lower fees and faster, more personalised service. They also offer products that were previously out of reach to many of the unbanked, including microloans.

While there are still challenges posed by cross-border regulation, fintech companies have revolutionised banking and will continue to do so in the future. Fintech operations include neobanks – a new type of bank without any physical location that operates entirely online. According to a new study, the African fintech market is projected to reach $65 billion by 2030 – a 13-fold increase since 2021.


Impact of blockchain and cryptocurrency

In recent years there has been a rise in the use of blockchains, which enable the creation of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. The novelty of blockchain technology is that transactions are shared by a network of computers around the world, facilitating money transfers that do not involve banks or state agencies as middlemen. 

In the future, one can expect banks to offer crypto wallets and accounts that offer clients secure cryptocurrency storage and convenient access to digital assets. This will enable seamless crypto trading and exchange services within a regulatory framework that the South African Reserve Bank will set. 

In addition to crypto payments, blockchain technology allows for the permanent storage of information that cannot be deleted or censored. In the future, banks will continue to explore the use of blockchains for various services – such as digital identity, trade finance and cross-border payments.

A word of caution: while crypto is a current buzzword and a major disruptor, regulation has yet to catch up with it. As a result, many banks are still awaiting clear guidelines – you should consult your financial adviser before deciding on crypto investment.

Data security and privacy going forward 

In this digital age, data security and privacy are of utmost importance. A cyberattack can be devastating for clients, resulting in identity theft or financial fraud. This is why many financial institutions are turning to cloud-based solutions to store, process and analyse enormous amounts of data.

In addition to offering banks insights into customer behaviour and market trends, cloud-based solutions help to protect their systems and data from cyber breaches. Biometrics that use fingerprints or facial and voice recognition are being used more often to improve digital banking security. AI-powered systems can also help to detect suspicious behaviour patterns and fraudulent activities through analysing consumption habits. 

The future is digital

Digitisation of banking services continues to gather steam globally. To remain competitive, financial institutions will need to offer an increasing number of services and products on digital platforms. The future of banking is irrevocably digital, with products and services tailored to your individual needs.