Absa banks on big data with new Hello Soda partnership

Absa Bank Ltd, a subsidiary of the Barclays Africa Group, has partnered with multilingual text analytics and big data company, Hello Soda, to improve access to its financial services for millennial customers – the fastest-growing demographic across Africa.

The relationship enhances Absa’s ability to make sense of unstructured social data in order to better understand its consumer base.

Hello Soda is well placed to provide new ways for individuals who are poorly covered by traditional credit data to verify their identity and gain access to credit. This is particularly beneficial for millennial customers, who may not be able to provide utility bills or paper bank statements when applying for a loan, for example.

Pieter Vorster, Chief Data Officer at Barclays Africa Group, said: “Hello Soda’s aim to empower consumers by boosting financial inclusion is aligned with our strategy. We aim to create more opportunities for society to grow by providing relevant products and increasing access to services in currently unbanked communities.”

James Blake, CEO at Hello Soda, said: “Our software solution is now being utilised by businesses across five continents and this latest venture with Absa is further evidence that businesses across the globe are embracing the benefits that big data analytics can offer.”

“Through our specialist products, we provide the means for individuals that may not be covered by traditional credit data, in communities across the world, to access the goods and services they need. We look forward to working together with Barclays Africa to continue to improve access to financial services,” said Blake.

“In a world that is increasingly mobile, social and connected, co-creating a solution that uses alternative data sources to support customers’ needs is a logical step forward. Working with Hello Soda allows us to offer greater support to our customers”, said Vorster.

Absa and Hello Soda are undergoing a proof of concept to boost financial inclusion with consumers in Africa.

Author Ben Allott