ING, LIZA VAN DEVENTER
ING, LIZA VAN DEVENTER

Transactions grow at fastest rate in 2½ years

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Feb 17, 2020

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Bank transactions grew 3.7 percent in January - the most in two-and a-half years - driven by new interbank behavioural changes, according to the BankservAfrica Economic Transaction Index (BETI).

The BETI reached 123.4 in January and grew by 3.7 percent in real, annual terms. Growth from the previous quarter was 2.6 percent after a 2.3 percent quarterly growth in December. The monthly change was 0.4 percent in real terms.

The index reached 123.4 while growing 3.7 percent over the past year in real terms, it said.

Shergeran Naidoo, the head of stakeholder engagements at Bankserv Africa, said: “Rapid transformations in banking in South Africa are benefiting customers, who are at the receiving end of improved experience and lower fees. This is evident in the current data that shows a pick-up in transaction activity.”

“The latest BETI reflects the new interbank behavioural changes from the fast-changing world of banking, which also extends into immediate payments,” said Naidoo.

He said consumers were choosing to take the real-time clearing (RTC) payments route. This service allowed a payment to be reflected immediately in the recipient’s bank account.

“The growth for this was 36.3 percent in nominal terms in value and 61.3 percent for the number of transactions. In the two years since January 2018, the number of RTC transactions has grown from 1.9 billion to 4.8 billion. This represents a 151 percent increase,” said Naidoo.

The latest BETI data provided useful insights on the changing consumer banking behaviour that had allowed for greater participation in the economy and financial inclusion.

“The new ways that consumers are engaging with banks are signs of a progressive economy. But to take this further, the infrastructure conversation needs to include spectrum allocation. This will reduce data costs and enable even higher economic activity,” Naidoo said.

Mike Schüssler, the chief economist at economists.co.za, said: “At first glance, the data does not sync with the current economic reality. On an annual basis, it could also reflect the low base of the first quarter in 2019, when the BETI reached a two-year low.”

It was telling of the interbank activity that has created some disruption in the world of transactions, he said.

“We are in a new and fast-growing world of transactions that are easier, cheaper and reward customers with discounts on other everyday products from groceries to movies. The control, convenience and safety are now the driving forces behind many a transaction,” said Schüssler. 

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