Promoting Digital Banking

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Akinwuntan

Ecobank Nigeria Limited has been using digital technologies to enhance customer experience, writes Oluchi Chibuzor

There is an ongoing digital in banking globally. This has even been accelerated by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, more banks are offering their customers high-quality web and mobile apps to improve their lifestyle and ease the burden associated with going to the banking hall. One of such banks is Ecobank Nigeria. The subsidiary of the pan-African Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), has continued to introduce innovation to banking, pushing more of its customers to embrace alternative banking channels.

For instance, the bank recently announced that cash withdrawals can be made at all its ATMs, without a card.
The Ecobank cardless withdrawal concept, Xpress Cash, enables users to withdraw cash from ATMs using only a mobile phone, no ATM card is required. The solution is seamless, secure and is driven by the generation of a code (e-token) by an account holder via the bank’s USSD code *326# or mobile app, Ecobank Mobile.

The e-token can be sent to customers, non-customers and even people without bank accounts for cash withdrawal at all Ecobank ATMs nationwide.

Speaking on the initiative, the bank’s Head, Consumer Banking, Olukorede Demola-Adeniyi said: “Digital payments are fast evolving. Customers want seamless experience across channels. We are committed to providing suitable options for our customers. Forgetting your card at home should not be a showstopper when you need cash.”

She went on to explain that the concept recognises the needs of the unbanked.

In her words, “With Xpress Cash, our customers can send money to their loved ones who are not even banked. You can send money to your domestic servants or unbanked staff just by generating a code and sharing the code.

“As a bank, we are not only keen to make our services accessible, but also affordable. Xpress Cash attracts only a flat charge of N50. Our USSD code, *326# offers zero session charges; and transfers of N5000 or less using our digital channels are absolutely free of charge. Also, people abroad who need to send money to their loved ones can do so without paying transfer charges using the Rapidtransfer app”, she said.

In addition, the bank recently launched an App for businesses. Known as Omni Lite App, the digital banking solution is targeted at enhancing banking experience of its large pool of commercial banking customers.

The Ecobank Omni Lite App is a highly secure, world-class and integrated electronic banking platform designed to help clients manage their business accounts online in a secure, flexible, efficient and convenient manner. It is a fully integrated multi-geography, multi-lingual and multi-currency online, web-based cash management platform. The App is being launched by the Ecobank Group across 33 countries in Africa where the Bank operates.

The Executive Director, Commercial Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, Carol Oyedeji, explained that the new App was introduced in line with Ecobank’s policy direction to meet and surpass customers’ expectations, noting that it would bring flexibility, safer and convenient banking to the users. She disclosed that it is available to existing Omni Lite users, urging them to download it from the Apple Store (IOS) or the Play Store (Android).

“With the new Omni Lite App, users can view their accounts and transactions in one place, make payments and pay bills with ease, set up multiple users with different access launch, make and manage loan payment, book time deposits and view exchange rates. This electronic portal also allows customers manage all their online business, banking transactions and information 24/7. With easier navigation and experience that is perfectly suited to smartphones, clients can enjoy features similar to the desktop version,” she added.

The Ecobank Omni Lite App enables faster processing of instructions with loading option or file import for mass payments. It also features a customizable environment with choice of language, time zone and comprehensive user-friendly navigation menu. It’s state-of-the-art architecture meets international safety standards and it is designed to enhance productivity and manage cash flow. These largely enhance the cash management capabilities of Businesses which include account services, payments, collections, liquidity management, detailed and customisable reports, amongst others.

In line with its desire to promote e-banking, the bank during the commemoration of the National Diaspora Day that was celebrated recently, offered zero fees for money transfers on its Rapidtransfer App. The offer which is ongoing would last till October 31, 2020.
The federal government had set aside July 25, every year as the National Diaspora Day in recognition of the contributions of Nigerians living outside the country towards the development of their homeland.

Rapidtransfer is Ecobank’s proprietary money transfer service which enables users send funds across borders, affordably and instantly. The Rapidtransfer app is available for use by Ecobank and non-Ecobank customers. Cash can be received directly into the recipient’s account or as cash at any Ecobank branch or Agent location.

Head, Consumer Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, Korede Demola-Adeniyi, said the decision to waive charges underscored the bank’s commitment to helping Nigerians abroad remit money home to their loved ones without placing an additional burden of charges on them, especially at this period of economic downturn across the world. She noted that the bank appreciates the contributions of Nigerians in the diaspora to the development of the country and is committed to ensuring that their transfers reach home instantly and affordably.

In addition, she stated that the Rapidtransfer app delivers value to both the sender and receiver. In her words, “our rates on the app are very competitive ensuring that both the sender and receiver get value for their money. The app also allows you see the exchange rate before your transaction is consummated, thereby providing a great level of transparency. The entire money sent reaches home, no hidden charges.”
Ecobank Nigeria recently unveiled a special loan package for female entrepreneurs in the country. The Ecobank Female Entrepreneurs’
Initiative (EFEI) loan is specially designed by the bank to financially empower female business owners and entrepreneurs in the country.

According to Head, Consumer Asset Product, Ecobank Group, Daberechi Effiong, the EFEI loan as conceived by the bank, is targeted at boosting small scale businesses owned by women, adding that it is a further demonstration of the importance the bank attaches to the role of women in sustainable development and contribution to the nation’s economy.

Effiong, who is also the EFEI Coordinator, explained that prospective female business owners could access credit with interest rates as low as 1 per cent, noting that the process for accessing the credit facility is easy and stress-free.