Mobile Banking Apps Eliminating Bank Branches
Technology is disrupting the banking industry in several ways, it is now a key to move towards providing integrated banking services to customers. Customers of today interact with their banks via mobile devices (Banking Apps) more often than they visit a bank branch.
On an average, people walk into a bank branch once or twice a year. But they interact with their bank on mobile devices 20 to 30 times a month. Which made these new technologies to rapidly alter the traditional ways of doing banking business.
Mobile banking is a system that allows customers of a financial institution to conduct a number of financial transactions through a mobile device such as a mobile phone or personal digital assistant via internet or USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data)
The use of mobile banking has made Fintech Companies like Ecocash to acquire customers than other banks in Zimbabwe. Which resorted to other banks, if not most banks, partnering with Ecocash to create a sustainable customer acquisition strategy.
Mobile banking has attracted millennials and non-millennials to engaged using digital means for mostly two reasons its fast and convenient, regardless of the cash crisis prevailing in the country. The rise in the use of mobile banking was much influenced by the rise in mobile penetration and usage of data in the country.
ln an interview with a banker, we asked him, “As we enter this new world of digital and mobile banking, are there things you had to learn or unlearn?”
“The basic way of doing business of banking hasn’t changed, which is getting customers, engaging with them, and considering customers for life as your model for the business. What is it that customers look for? They look for ways to make more money, save more money, get more money and get some help on managing the money. It’s basic stuff. In the bank branches, it’s a lot tougher to do this because there’s no consistency.”
Although Zimbabwean banks have been late starter in the adoption of technology for automation of processes and the integrated banking services. Further the banking sector reforms and introduction of e-banking has made very structural changes in service quality, managerial decisions, operational performance, profitability and productivity of the banks.
There has been a great improvement on how they have made effective modes for promotional schemes interaction with the customer, more accurately like Steward Bank and FBC on their move to introduce chat bots which they named Batsi and Chido respectively.
Batsi (Steward Bank) and Chido (FBC Bank) are digital Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered program with the ability to simulate human conversations through voice commands or text chats or both, a feature which enables it to be embedded and used through any major messaging application such as Facebook and WhatsApp.
We still believe that local banks should set standards for on-boarding mobile banking customers, r industry agreements between banks and MNOs for handling customer grievances and also to see mobile banking channel as a cost saving avenue (reduction of cash handling charges) rather than revenue generation vertical.
What is lacking now in most banking apps is a way of opening a new paperless account. Meaning you want to open a bank account, why shouldn’t it be possible just to upload all the required documents and photos of a potential account holder. More than 80% of people in Zimbabwe they use Ecocash. So, the initial deposit won’t be a hustle to deposit in your just opened account.
Eyetro Digital projects that within at least 5 years from now we are going to experience a reduction in Banking branches, with some banks now like Standard Chaptered reducing their banking branches and improving their Banking Systems. They are realizing the shift from traditional banking to the new way of technological banking using apps, internet and computers.
One Major problem with mobile banking apps is the need to internet connection to be able to operate, so if you live in a rural area or experience problems with your internet connection, then you won’t be able to access your account. The same applies if your mobile phone runs out of battery.
We urge Banks and telcos to work together for addressing customer grievances. A crucial tip to Use Mobile Banking in the right way is to check its authenticity most banks offer tailor made mobile banking apps to their customers which can be downloaded to a Smartphone and used to manage bank accounts.
Unfortunately, this has also invited potential fraud in the form of carefully duplicated applications created by scam developers. Before downloading any app to your phone, make sure that it’s an authentic application released by your bank. Avoid third party software that asks for any personal information if you can’t verify the source.