UBA: Prioritising Customer Safety with Innovative Digital, Retail Offerings

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Kennedy Uzoka

Udeme Ekwere

The times we are in now calls for innovations that will ensure that customers can carry out almost any transactions from the comfort of their homes, schools or offices and without having to leave their physical location.

Bearing this in mind, United Bank of Africa (UBA) Plc has discovered and developed more interesting and fun ways to strengthen its digital offerings while ensuring that customers can still enjoy all the services they can get from physical branches locations and even more without even stepping out of their current locations.

And as a Pan-African financial institution that is at the forefront of innovative offerings to satisfy its ever-broadening clientele, UBA is setting the pace through the introduction of several unique features and upgraded its offerings on its mobile app and other digital and retail platforms to allow customers carry out banking transactions across all channels with ease.

UBA’s Group Managing Director, Kennedy Uzoka, said the bank has seen the need to ramp up banking channels to ensure less physical contact by its customers, adding that to this end, the bank has invested in technology to boost its digital offerings to customers.

Uzoka, said, “I will like to let you know that all the investments we have made over the years in the area of technology have been yielding now, because already, we have been getting feedback that UBA branches have been meeting the needs of customers in terms of digital patronage, owing to the growing traffic we have been receiving in recent times.

He disclosed the bank’s readiness to continually do business in a way to ensure that customers do not have to physically be in the banks, adding that “We are set to take our business to the customers wherever they are and however they want it.”
The Head, Digital Banking, Sampson Aneke, said specifically that UBA aims is to provide the best value possible for its customers through a more interactive, user friendly interface that will make countless opportunities available for the customers from the comfort of their homes.

He pointed out that the UBA mobile banking app has been upgraded in such a way that it now prompt users to use their device enabled biometrics, adding that the menu has been reduced and divided into sub-menus to enable users view Transaction History, Net worth, Trends amongst others at a glance.

“With the new interface, the user can now see all the transfer options including the saved beneficiary option at a glance and can even order food for delivery via the app,” he said. Customers who subscribe to the lifestyle offering on the app will enjoy access to the free online medical doctor, a great response to the new norm created by Covid-19 pandemic,” he noted.

There are other features of the app, as highlighted by Aneke, including the live chat option, where users can communicate on the go with dedicated staff trained to assist with any enquires and challenges; biller validation; as well as group transfer – a new menu where users can create groups, save members and transfer funds to up to 100 members on the group.

This Group Beneficiary transfer feature which does a single lumpsum debit and multiple credits to beneficiaries irrespective of banks where their accounts are domiciled, makes the upgraded UBA app, the first app in Africa to be able to pay salaries, thus addressing a major need in the MSME space.

Aneke explained that the group transfer was introduced to empower micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), while the feature that allows transfer to telephone numbers is to enhance financial inclusion across Africa against the background of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Customers who subscribe to the lifestyle offering which is available on the app will enjoy access to the free online medical doctor, a great response to the new norm created by Covid-19 pandemic; also you can also order food from the app to be delivered right at your doorstep,” he said.

Apart from the Cardless Cash Withdrawals; other features such as mobile Wallet; Prepaid Card Upload for Corporates; Host to Host Integration to Corporate ERP and Direct Debit Functionality for Corporate Customers; are other upgrades that will be coming on board shortly, Aneke disclosed.

UBA’s Group Head, Consumer and Retail Banking, Jude Anele, who spoke on innovations carried out on the retail side, explained that the most cost-effective way to reach the banked and unbanked would be through the mobile phone. This, he said is because the mobile phone has the greatest penetration across Africa, which is why the bank has focused on that and introduced contactless payment system to reduce contact with PoS and ATMs.

“The era of people going to ATMs to punch keys, slotting cards at PoS terminals where you need to use your fingers to punch the buttons is almost going because of all the health concerns which we are aware of. So, what would gain ground is contactless payment systems where you don’t have to make contact to be able to pay. You can just generate a code from your mobile phones and you used this code to collect your money from the ATM without using your cards.”

He added: “If you go to countries like Kenya and most parts of East and central Africa, you will find that while financial inclusion is deepening over there is because of the spread and depth at which financial technology and mobile payments has gone in those countries.

He also added that UBA has prioritised its customers, giving them increased value with its offering of 1.58 percent monthly interest rate on its Quick Loan service to customers, known as Click Credit.

In his words, “This is another exciting feature that we have already started receiving rave feedback from our customers for, where users make Loan Requests via Click Credit (For Salary Account Holders) or Quick loans which is available to both savings and current account holders. Our customers have already started to enjoy these services, and I can tell you that they are very pleased with these new offerings,”

Continuing, Anele said, “We are offering this to salaried employees and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who are qualified to obtain the Quick Loan, and any salaried customer or SME is qualified to access the loan for a period of 12 months, six months or three months with the loan being renewable.”

Operating in 20 African countries and globally in the United Kingdom, the United States and France, the United Bank for Africa has a strong record of supporting its communities, through challenging times.