Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A look at cellphone banking innovations in Malawi

Long gone are days when people used to queue in banking halls to check their bank account balances or send money. Many banks are now taking advantage of the popularity of cellphones to reach out to their customers and give them easy ways to access their banking services. National Bank of Malawi and Opportunity Bank Malawi are some of the banks that are using these self service cellphone banking innovations in Malawi. I will look at NBM's Mo626 ice and OIBM's Banki M'manja cellphone banking solutions and how you can use them.

Mo626 ice

This innovation has just been relaunched by National Bank after some major changes have been made to the original concept. At first customers were asked to send an sms to 626 to ask their balance or transfer money from one account to another. The relaunched Mo626 ice is more user freindly as it eliminates the need to send texts. It is easy and simple because it is a menu based command which requires one to just dial *626# on their cellphone.

Available transactions on Mo626 ice

Balance Inquiry, Mobile Top up (Airtel, TNM, MTL and Burco eWimax vouchers), Utility bill payments for ESCOM and all the Water boards, Funds transfer, Cheque book ordering, Stop Payments and mini statements. These transactions were only found inside banking halls and at auto teller machines but can now be accessed in the comforts of your home.

Mo626 is free and one just needs to register at the nearest service center to start enjoying the benefits of this innovation. It is very easy to use, convenient and available 24/7. Nattional Bank also assures its customers that it is very secure to use this service.

Bank M'manja

Opportunity Bank is probably the most loved bank by the rural Malawians because it has simplified most banking services. Banki 0'manja is just one of the many innovations that it is using to appeal to these masses. One just need to register at the nearest branch. To use Banki Mmanja dial *300# on any TNM number or *400# on Airtel numbers and you will follow the instructions. Just like the Mo626 you can also querry your balance, send money, pay utility bills, mini statement and top up your cellphone from any location anytime.

Other banks that have cellphone banking services are NBS Bank with SMS Banking and FMB Bank.