Twitter users are outraged with Centenary Bank charging its customers for checking their account balances —this is after one Twitter user by the name of Muramuzi Edwin (@muramuzi_edwin) replied to a tweet saying Centenary Bank charges its customers for just opening their mobile app.
The bank replied to the tweet saying, “Kindly be informed that downloading and opening the CenteMobile App is free of charge. You are only charged for transacting. For example, checking account balance is UGX600 and transferring funds to another account in the bank is UGX1,000.”
A Twitter user Samuel Karangira Araali (@Mhmz_Sam) asked why the bank would make such charges noting that it would be equivalent to a telco (in this case he gave an example of MTN) charging someone for checking their airtime balance.
Another tweep @TheMuzanira said the bank has the moral authority to talk about selflessness yet they are imposing chargers on checking account balance.
We reached out to the bank for a comment but declined to comment.
A majority of people still remain unbanked because of a number of reasons, with one of them being over excessive or unexplained fees. According to a Pew Research Center study, the unbanked said they feel that banks are not transparent when it comes to fee explanations and fee structure. Even customers with bank accounts complain that banks are not upfront about fees and charge too much for products and fees. Such problems are most severe for low-income people, although all consumers face them in one way or another.
The unbanked have restored to rely on alternative financial services, such as mobile money. Mobile Money was created initially for the purpose of increasing the financial inclusion of the people who were previously financially excluded —essentially was for unbanked & underprivileged customers.
The service (mobile money) doesn’t require a traditional bank account or any product from a bank. It is an account linked directly to your mobile phone number and transactions can only be made using a mobile phone whether it is a smartphone or a feature phone.
Mobile Money works just like a bank account and allows users to send & receive money, pay for utilities, shop online, make savings, request loans, top-up on your wallet, without having an account in a bank. Therefore Mobile Money literally does what a bank would do and it is convenient resulting in people opting for it than a bank.