File image. Picture: Chris Ratcliffe
JOHANNESBURG - Clickatell , a global technology company that originated in Cape Town, this week clinched a major deal with WhatsApp to implement the WhatsApp Business Solution globally.

Clickatell was one of WhatsApp’s selected partners responsible for making this new WhatsApp service available to big businesses.

The amount of the deal was not disclosed.

Clickatell chief executive Pieter de Villiers said several large banks were partnering with Clickatell to roll out their chat banking capabilities on WhatsApp across Africa.
He said businesses were slowly adopting this form of customer service.

“Businesses have just begun to realise the power of chat based engagement. We are determined to be the go-to partner of choice for businesses globally,” he said.

Clickatell’s head office is in Silicon Valley and has other offices in Toronto, Nigeria and Cape Town. 

Absa also introduced a first for South Africa last month and announced it was introducing banking via WhatsApp.

The bank introduced WhatsApp banking to enable their customers to view accounts and rewards balances, checking recent transactions, and buying airtime, data, SMS bundles, and prepaid electricity.

Absa said that the new service would be part of its “social media banking” strategy and that customers could now conduct “instant transactions” using Absa’s ChatBanking service.

Clickatell’s customers on WhatsApp Business solutions include Absa Bank, GTBank, First Bank of Nigeria and United Bank of Africa. 

Clickatell is working with several other large businesses across online commerce, retail, digital entertainment and financial services to enable their presence on WhatsApp.

This week, a research by Endeavor revealed that Cape Town start-ups are amongst the most productive in the continent, which this deal demonstrates. Endeavor seeks to deepen understanding of how high-impact entrepreneurs and scaleups contribute to job creation and long-term economic growth in order to educate key constituencies, such as policy makers

Recent reports have indicated that WhatsApp initially tested payment services on WhatsApp in India.

WhatsApp is expanding its footprint in banking with its WhatsApp Pay service and with its well-known platform could be a threat to local mobile banking solutions. 

WhatsApp will provide the technology infrastructure, which will lessen the technology investment burden for financial institutions.

- BUSINESS REPORT