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warid_pesaWarid Telecom last week launched a partnership with Equity Bank that will enable customers to withdraw money at any time from any of the bank’s ATMs without necessarily having an account at the bank or an ATM Card.

This service works in such a way that a customer initiates the transaction on their mobile phone which then gives the customer an option either to withdraw from a vendor or from an ATM.

If the ATM option is chosen, the customer receives a text message with a code that they will then key into the ATM. Their mobile phone number will also be required on the ATM then they will choose the amount of money they intend to withdraw and that is all.

Mobile money has over the years evolved easing access to cash and is gradually moving towards providing paperless transactions. However, what is not very clear is whether the service has also improved the saving culture in the country.

The service has no option to enable customers deposit their money into their accounts but rather aids them to only withdraw, which means increased spending.

Mr. Kennedy Muguna, the General Manager, Operations at Equity Bank said that the bank was looking at possibilities of introducing the depositing feature.

The latest innovation by Warid shows just how much telephones have evolved from their traditional roles and also shows that banks need to look for new innovations so as to reach out to the unbanked population.

The new innovation will help fight fraud because it will eliminate many humans from the transactions, according to Mr. Shailendra Naidu, the Warid Telecom Chief Commercial Officer

“If you look at fraud, it is all human fraud and not system fraud. So human greed is something you cannot easily control. What we are trying to do is make an individual fully control his own transaction.  It’s not that we can completely do away with fraud. But this is one of the ways we want to ensure that a customer can access their money whenever they want to,” he said.

Banks need to look for innovations so as to reach out to the unbanked population, Apollo Njoroge, the Managing Director, Equity Bank said.

“If you look at the 25 banks in Uganda, they have only been able to get about 3 million subscribers and yet when you look at the telecom companies, within a very short time, they have in excess of 10 million customers. There have to be synergistic ways of looking at these relationships. There is some relevance that the telecoms have been able to introduce into the market that the banks need to leverage on,” Njoroge said.

Credit: Business Week