3 tips to improve the user experience and security of African applications – IT News Africa

Tochukwu Iwuora from Entersekt.

Financial institutions are increasingly relying on apps and their turbocharged cousins, super apps, for much-needed revenue growth. Organizations that can deliver a secure, low-friction application experience are more likely to migrate existing customers to digital channels, attract new customers, and reduce operational costs, giving them a much-needed competitive advantage over an increasingly competitive market.

Africa is one of the fastest growing app markets in the world, with Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa showing particularly high growth since the Covid pandemic. With rapid urbanization, great improvement in connectivity as well as the fact that smartphone connections in Africa are expected to double by 2025, reaching 678 million, it is reasonable to expect the app economy to see a boom. strong growth over the next few years.

Nigeria has proven to be a particularly high growth region and although transaction volumes conducted via apps in Nigeria are still quite low, the latest figures from the Nigerian government show that app transactions in the last quarter of 2020 represent 80% of the value of all mobile transactions in the country.

Good enforcement strategy requires careful consideration of security

“Given the growth of apps in Africa and the growing competitiveness of the financial services industry, it would be detrimental for regional financial institutions to ignore a strong apps strategy. We have seen a huge increase in questions on how to improve security and user experience from many African CIOs over the past 18 months,” says Tochukwu Iwuora, Head of Presales Solutions at Entersekt.

“Poor user experience and concerns about security may cause customers to abandon apps for those of competing financial institutions, especially among the younger generation,” adds Iwuora.

Iwuora says that while most banking apps currently offer basic functionality such as balance checks, intra and interbank transfers, the demand for more features such as mobile payments, service subscriptions and integrated marketplaces, which require interfacing with third parties, is growing rapidly – and so too, is the need for better security.

“When you sign up for a mobile data subscription or pay a utility bill on an app, you won’t want to jump through any hoops when it comes to authentication. Using strong multi-factor authentication from the start means that customers will have a much better experience. And we’re seeing a definite decline in poor user experience, especially from younger users who are used to a seamless experience on their social media platforms,” ​​he says.

Iwuora points out that the friction caused by poor authentication can become even more pronounced when users have to navigate the most feature-rich and complex super apps. And, as these are increasingly where financial institutions and MNOs are focusing their growth efforts, ensuring a smooth user experience from the start becomes critical.

User experience influences the growth trajectory of super apps

Mobile money was born in Africa and continues to dominate global adoption. Taking the next step in its evolution, apps like M-Pesa in Kenya, which serves more than 47 million users in its markets, are now leveraging their dominance of the network. The updated app will now allow users to book bus and train tickets, purchase insurance as well as buy tickets for local events, with more options expected in future iterations.

In South Africa, Nedbank Avo goes beyond banking functionality to provide a merchant platform for small merchants and has already attracted over one million users and 20,000 merchants. The super app VodaPay, meanwhile, has reportedly attracted 2.2 million downloads and 1.6 million registered users in just eight months since its launch. The app offers a range of financial services, including loans and savings as well as person-to-person payments and a new marketplace for unsecured personal loans.

“Super Apps represent a real opportunity for financial institutions and MNOs to monetize their networks, increase revenue and embed sustainability into their business models. This is especially true at a time when traditional businesses face growing competition from fintechs and neo-financial institutions that have a reputation for delivering a better mobile experience than their traditional counterparts. However, super apps also face a greater security risk as mobile malware attacks continue to grow,” says Iwuora.

More moving parts means more weak points

The threat to any application increases as financial institutions add new features and integrate with more third parties, increasing the surface area at risk of attack. However, while financial institutions must ensure the security of all systems, networks and interfaces, customer-facing security measures such as authentication can have a significant impact on the overall user experience.

“Balancing user security and ensuring a frictionless experience is key to attracting and retaining customers. Using an inherit factor such as facial recognition or fingerprint authentication when login is a must. Then, when users engage with third-party vendors for sensitive transactional services, strong authentication using another authentication factor adds additional security,” he says.

Iwuora says tech-savvy financial institutions are already pioneering the use of behavioral analytics to create a smoother experience for their customers by silently analyzing their transactional and biometric behavior in the background, then using a strong authentication only when the analysis shows a high level. risk of fraud.

“Africa has shown that it is ready to take advantage of all the conveniences and opportunities of the app economy. The migration of consumers to these digital channels creates valuable new revenue streams and reduces operating costs. But brands should be aware that poor user experiences created by intrusive authentication could make their app journey much more difficult,” Iwuora concludes.


Edited by Zintle Nkohla

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