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Absa alert warns customers of future spending shortfalls

10 February 2016  |  11273 views  |  0 Absa

South Africa's Absa Bank is piloting a new predictive spending alert that warns customers if they are about to go into the red and offers customised options to help them better manage their finances.

Piloted with 50,000 customers in South Africa, the smart personal alert service mines customer transaction histories and notifies users if it spots the recurrence of overspending trends. The system then prompts customers to transfer or deposit funds into their account or connect instantly to a dedicated Absa staff member to talk about their financial needs.

Yasaman Hadjibashi, chief data officer for Barclays Africa, says that typical industry alerts normally focus on notifying customers when they reach or are close to pre-set minimum limits. These alerts often arrive too late for a customer to action appropriately, and typically without the right personal options.

She says: “By predicting and better understanding our customers’ behaviour, we are able to proactively engage with them before their funds are depleted - and without the customer first having to set a minimum limit. We are then able to provide them with tailored opportunities to manage their account.”

Of the 50 000 customers who have been part of Absa’s pilot to date, 60% proactively took actions following the alerts to manage their payments better, says Hadjibashi, and 84% confirmed that they found the alerts useful and preferred the service to continue.

Anna Nascimento, head of commercial engagement, personal bank at Absa, states: “Data science brings us closer to understanding our customers’ everyday banking needs and helps us protect them against unnecessary additional charges, through the use of predictive low balance alerts. Analytics is helping us build a deeper understanding of customer behaviour and ensuring that our engagement with them becomes more personal and relevant.”

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