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This South African bank is disrupting the market with an innovative mobile app for onboarding customers, driven by Kofax capture technology. By enabling customers to apply for an account on the go—without having to visit a branch—the bank has increased new account openings by 50 percent, growing market share and boosting financial inclusion.


The Challenge

In South Africa, lack of convenient access to banking services has long been a barrier to financial inclusion, especially among the country’s poorer citizens. An estimated 23.5 percent of the population do not hold a bank account, and R12bn ($1.04bn) in cash is believed to be held outside of banks nationwide.

One of the country’s major banks recognized the problem and set about finding a solution, as a spokesperson explained: “Many people live miles away from their nearest bank and lack easy access to transportation. If they want to open an account, they can’t feasibly visit a branch within the opening hours, which are typically 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. And for those people who are able to visit a branch, it can often take two to three trips to complete the account opening, as customers don’t always have all the necessary documentation to hand on their first visit. Between these two challenges, we found that around 70 percent of customers who initiated an account opening failed to complete the process.

“We saw that there was a huge opportunity for us to win more customers if we could provide a quick, convenient way of opening a bank account. And once customers had been onboarded, we wanted to ensure that they could easily access all the subsequent services they might need—helping us maintain high levels of satisfaction and retention.”

The Solution

The bank built a powerful mobile customer onboarding app, based on Kofax solutions, that allows its representatives to capture all the information needed to open a bank account from a mobile device.

“We selected Kofax because we felt that it offered the most complete and flexible document capture capabilities,” noted the spokesperson. “Our mobile development team has given us positive feedback about the Kofax solutions, and it was very quick and easy for them to build the capture platform for our mobile app.”

The Kofax mobile capture technology converts the mobile device in the palm of the customer’s hand into a virtual scanner. The capture software controls the focus, flash and shutter of the device to ensure each image is captured correctly the first time. The technology automatically de-skews the image, separates it from the background and removes artifacts, such as shadows. This process greatly improves data extraction accuracy, as well as image quality.

When the mobile onboarding app was ready, the bank hired around 300 independent sales representatives and posted them in urban areas with high foot-traffic, such as taxi ranks, where many people congregate to travel home at the end of the day. If a customer wishes to open an account at one of these mobile sales points, he or she simply has to provide a few key documents, including an identity document, proof of residence and proof of employment, and the sales rep helps them complete the application on a smartphone or tablet using the new mobile app.

The app captures the documents and then uploads them to back-end systems for processing. The customer is given a bank card on the spot, and once his or her application has been processed and approved (usually within a few working days), the bank sends an SMS notifying the customer that their account is set up and ready to use.

“We are bringing the bank to our customers,” said a spokesperson. “By establishing mobile sales points in locations that potential customers already frequent, we are both boosting visibility of our brand and making our services more accessible than ever before.”

In a separate use case, the bank also takes advantage of Kofax SignDoc to verify signatures on checks and credit cards.“

Kofax SignDoc has transformed what was once a time-consuming and resource-intensive manual task into a highly automated, accurate process,” stated the spokesperson. “It has helped us to minimize the risk of check and credit card fraud while keeping operating costs low.”

The Results

The mobile customer onboarding app has revolutionized the account opening process for this bank. By providing customers with a quick and easy way to open a bank account—at a time and place that suits their lifestyle—the bank has dramatically increased new customer acquisition rates.

The spokesperson remarked: “More people are choosing to bank with us than ever before. And crucially, those who start the account opening process are much more likely to see it through to completion. In the past, only 30 percent of people who applied for a bank account completed the process; today, that figure has risen to 80 percent. This growth has translated into greater revenues and market share, strengthening our competitiveness.”

By taking advantage of advanced mobile technology to shape better experiences in the critical First Mile™ of customer interaction, the bank has bolstered its reputation as an innovator that is committed to its customers.

The spokesperson concluded: “We have built our success on being there for our customers at every stage in their financial journey, and investing in innovative services like the mobile onboarding app help us to continue delivering experiences that improve people’s lives. By bringing banking to more South Africans, we are doing our part to improve their economic outlook and strengthen the wider economy, which helps build brighter financial futures for all.”

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