By Mark Kawalya
Kenyan founded financial institution, Equity Bank, has launched a phone account opening service that new customers can utilize using the mobile phone USSD protocol. The move is aimed at furthering the bank’s commitment to leverage technology to deepen financial inclusion for Uganda’s unbanked population.
Bringing convenience to banking
The platform allows users to self-serve in a simple account opening process that does away with the need to visit bank premises, giving clients convenience. The service can be accessed by dialing the USSD code *247# and following the instructions.
Bank officials said the move will boost access to mainstream banking services as many last-mile communities are geographically secluded from areas in which banks have branches.
Boosting immediate remittances
One of the key benefits of the USSD code is that the feature is usable on all phone types, does not require an internet connection, and is user-friendly.
Equity banks Executive Director for the Commercial Banking department, Michael Matovu said “Equity Bank always seeks innovative ways of offering integrated financial services that socially and economically empower our communities and customers. We are confident the public will find the platform convenient and easy to use.”
On the same platform, users can make balance inquiries, make fund deposits, transfer money from their Equity account to their mobile wallet, and access mini statements. The service has been developed to harness the potential of mobile and digital banking, which is crucial in facilitating small value immediate remittances.
Requirements for signing up
The only two prerequisites users need to open an account using the platform are a registered mobile phone number and a valid national ID. The bank account is opened immediately and is active after the process and gives one an ordinary savings account with no charges.
Michael Matovu further added that “Keeping pace with our tradition of providing ease and convenience of banking to our customers, Equity Bank has launched this product. This code *247# can be used widely by all sections of the public, at their convenience, at no cost.”
The USSD platform makes it possible for clients to interact with their money in ways that are immediate and intuitive. They can also make withdrawals from their accounts using the EquiDuuka by dialing *247# or from any of the bank’s ATMs, or bank premises. Users can also visit the nearest Equity branch to pick up their ATM cards.