Technology is increasingly changing the way people transact business world over.
According to Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), Uganda has over 13 million internet users, a development that has seen many businesses go online.
It is against this background that a number of banks are embracing digital banking that will in future make physical branches almost irrelevant as cashless banking takes centre stage.
In fact, many banks have started closing down expensive yet unprofitable branches since digital banking cuts costs and makes banking less expensive.
The battle among banks to take a nibble on the 13 million internet users is now full scale, with many banks unveiling Mobile Banking Apps and wooing Ugandans to their side.
However, the some Apps are unique and have more functions compared to others, a thing that will play a big role in influencing customer decision making.
For example, Ecobank Uganda’s Mobile App is probably the best on the Ugandan market currently as it offers customers a number of functions and benefits.
In an exclusive interview with Business Focus on Friday, Jael Christine Wawulira, the Manager-Consumer Banking at Ecobank Uganda revealed that the bank’s app is not only universal, but also open for both Ecobank customers and non-customers.
“One can open an Xpress account on Ecobank Mobile App [It takes about two minutes to download the app from Google play store] and you don’t need to be an Ecobank customer to open the Xpress account. All you need is your National ID Number to open the account. For customers from the banks, all they need is their National ID Number and Visa Card Number,” Wawulira says, adding:
“You can open an Xpress account instantly on your mobile phone with zero account fees, zero paperwork and no minimum balance.”
With the Xpress account, Wawulira says one can transfer money within Ecobank and to any other bank within Uganda.
“The app is an industry game-changer because it is reliable and convenient. One can pay or send someone money using a token. All you need is to initiate the token off the mobile app and send it to the person you’re paying or giving money. Thereafter, the payee goes to a nearby Ecobank ATM within two days and withdraws the money,” she says, adding that it is cheaper because the recipient is not charged for withdrawing money from the ATM.
“A customer can also check their account balance and loan status,” Wawulira reveals, adding that customers can also use the app to buy MTN, Airtel and Africell airtime.
One can also shop at Ecobank merchant points without cash using Ecobank pay (formerly known as Masterpass) by simply scanning the QR code that is available at Ecobank merchant points.
She adds that customers will soon be able to pull money from their Xpress accounts to their mobile money wallet and vice versa.
Further, Wawulira says customers will soon be able to pay their utility bills using the app as implementations with concerned technology partners are in advanced stages.
Additionally, if one loses the ATM or cheque book, they can use the app to block them from being used and the bank will be notified immediately.
“We keep upgrading the app from time to time by adding more services and releasing faster versions,” she says.
Ecobank Uganda Managing Director, Clement Dodoo described the app as ‘fantastic’, revealing that it is solution based.
“We are targeting 150,000 customers by end of this year. We developed it to offer solutions to the people,” he said, adding: “The response so far is impressive given the fact that it is open for both Ecobank customers and non-customers.”