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Centenary Bank Defends Controversial Shs600 Charge On Account Balance Inquiry

Centenary Bank head offices/ Courtesy photo

Centenary Bank has spoken out on the controversial Shs600 charge on balance inquiry, saying the cost was put in place to help the bank roll out mobile phone banking, and there are no plans to end the transaction charge anytime soon.

It took Centenary Bank over 24hours after public expressed outrage at the obscure  charge.

It wasn’t until 8:58Pm on Tuesday that the Bank thought it worth to respond to the complaints raised by customers on Twitter.

A statement issued by the Bank’s Management read in part, “As we transition, we continuously test the service and business module and this is how the Shs600 per transaction was considered. This makes the bank able to cover the cost of running the service, pay our ecosystem partners as well as continue offering a great service to our middle and high-end clients who have already embraced the solution.”

Although the Bank didn’t issue particular timeline, they promised that the service would be free in future, noting, “As our mass customers fully enroll, the service shall be fully free overtime as the transaction values offset running costs.”

Centenary Bank further defended the charge arguing, “New technologies come with a lot of responsibility for customer security of funds and uptime that call for different pricing depending on customer profiles and adoption timelines of new technologies.”

However, a section of angry Ugandans seems to have rejected this statement with some saying the statement had too much English yet full of nothing.

Andrew Gumanawe asked, “So, when did you introduce this App? For how many years have you been collecting our Shs 600.? One of the Tweeps gave you a simple calculation on how much you collect from those charges, it’s somewhat funny that you have not got back your money from us.”

Ashraf Mukiibi while trashing the statement by Centenary Bank wrote, ” I really wonder the kind of business strategists you have at your bank.  There are actually a number of ways you can cover those costs thru other services but not directly feeding off your customers. You guys need to learn more about indirect costing.”

What started as a tweet by one Twitter user Qwenga, also known as bkyeyune who said he found it weird that banks have sold false narrative that they have gone digital banking, yet demand physical presence of their customers when opening bank accounts.

He wrote, “But banks are weird. You tell me I can open a bank account online. But then you call me and tell me that I need to go to a branch to sign papers to activate that same account. Make up your bloody minds… 🤷🏾‍♂️”

Qwenga was backed by Muramuzi Edwin replying, “Centenary Bank would charge you for opening their mobile app. That’s how I stopped being a rural banker.”

Centenary Bank that had been in bad books with its customers for being unresponsive to their concerns raised on social media, oddly moved swiftly to save face this time around.

“Kindly be informed that downloading and opening the CenteMobile App is free of charge. You are only charged for transacting. For example, checking account balance is Shs600 and transferring funds to another account in the bank is Shs 1,000,” wrote Centenary Bank.

The Bank has however stood by its charge stating that roll out of mobile banking was done to improve customer convenience and uptake has tremendously increased.

Centenary Bank noted, “Being a Microfinance bank, we must continuously offer that add value to our primary segment while making the bank sustainable. Most of our clients are still embracing the service and we are happy with the uptake.”

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