StanChart launches new phone-based bank solution

Standard Chartered Bank
Standard Chartered Bank on Kenyatta Avenue in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Standard Chartered Bank #ticker:SCBK has introduced a keyboard-based banking solution which allows customers to access a variety of financial services from within any social or messaging platform without having to open the banking app.

The bank expects to take advantage of the growing smartphone mobile penetration in the country that has now hit over 90 per cent.

The SC Keyboard recently launched in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, and Tanzania. The solution is a first for the bank in Africa and will be rolled out to Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Nigeria throughout the rest of the year.

Jaydeep Gupta, the Regional Head of Retail Banking, Africa and the Middle East, said the solution is ideal for the African market, which continues to see a rising number of social media users.

“Following the additional rollouts of our online retail banks across Africa, the SC Keyboard is an important milestone in our digital journey. The keyboard-based banking solution allows clients to transfer money in real-time, pay utility bills and instantly check balances from within any social or messaging platform,” said Gupta.


The unique digital solution can be configured as the default keyboard on any smartphone, making banking quick and seamless for customers who no longer need to log into their SC mobile app for basic banking services.

Gupta said increased prosperity has made the African population more financially savvy and many users seek new and easy ways to handle their money.

“We want our interactions to be simple, intuitive and seamless; we will remain committed to leveraging the best technology to bridge digital and human channels and enhance customer centricity and service delivery,” he said.

To enjoy the seamless and easy access to banking by SC Keyboard, clients need to have an Android or iOS smartphone gadget with fingerprint support. To make use of the new solution, customers have to download SC Mobile, set up SC Keyboard and configure it as the default keyboard on their smartphones.

In this, clients can make a transfer with a maximum daily limit of $ 1,282.02 (Sh1.2 million).

A recent report by cybersecurity firm Serianu indicated that Kenya lost Sh30 billion in the year 2018 to cybercrime. The report indicates only 1700 cybersecurity skilled professionals are certified in Kenya with 60 per cent of companies set to experience a shortage of cybersecurity professionals this year especially at senior and mid-management levels.

“Despite the controversy around privacy, hacking, fake news and all the other negative aspects of online life, the world continues to embrace the internet and social media. Global digital growth shows no sign of slowing, with a million new people around the world coming online every day. This growth is clearly fueling social media use,” the report said.

To address fears of cybersecurity, SC Keyboard is as secure as SC Mobile App. It will only transmit data pertaining to keyboard banking features such as checking balances and making payments. The bank will not collect, process, store or transmit any keystrokes or personal data such as passwords, credit card numbers, street address in any case. This will be protected by the same bank-level security as the SC Mobile.

However, smartphone with an in-screen fingerprint sensor like Samsung Galaxy S10, S10+ and HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro, do not support the check balances and transfer functions of SC Keyboard temporarily. According to statistics from Jumia, Kenya currently has a population of 51.58 million, of this, a total of 43.3 million have access to the internet despite Google identifying only 13 million as the active internet users. The rapid growth has been facilitated by more affordable devices and declining mobile data plans.

Currently, smartphone use is widely used with over 90 per cent users. In this, social media dominating as the most accessed platforms with WhatsApp having 74 percent, Facebook 70 percent and Twitter 50 percent.

In Africa, according to the Hootsuite and We Are Social Global Digital Report 2019, in 2018 alone the African continent saw a 12 per cent rise in active social media users and a 15 per cent increase in active mobile social media users.

- African Laughter