In 2015, Equity Bank through its subsidiary Finserve Africa limited launched its MVNO called Equitel. An MVNO is a mobile carrier that comes in, leases infrastructure and goes straight into business, where Equity leased Airtel Kenya’s excess infrastructure to launch the service. The move was seen by some as aimed at taking on the market leader Safaricom in the telecommunications space. Equity, however, emphasised that Equitel is a tool through which it seeks to bring a convergence between mobile money transfer services and banking for its customers.
A few weeks back, Equity Bank announced a whole range of products under the Eazzy suite signalling the bank’s bold commitment towards becoming a fully digital bank. The new strategy by the bank of embracing digital platforms has had monumental success where currently, 84% of all loans issued by the bank take place through the Equitel mobile platform.
In the Eazzy Suite of products is Eazzy App, a holistic banking App, which I set out to test. From the App, one can open an account directly without necessarily visiting a bank. Equity Bank’s plan is to bring banking services to the digital age with the view of making it part of their customer’s lifestyle. Eazzy App allows you to do much more including top up airtime, pay bills, get mini statements and even take loans. The App also allows you to transfer money to other users across banks and networks. I found an interesting addition to this service, where using a code one can send money via social media i.e.Twitter, WhatsApp. The user then uses this code for withdrawal of the cash.
How it Works
Having not been an Equity Bank customer, I downloaded the App from the Google Play Store and then went to sign up by keying in my details including Name, ID number and phone number and was set. I then received an SMS text with my secure PIN (which I could change) and was then an Equity Bank customer with no paperwork and without having to visit a branch.
The journey is, however, different for existing Equity Bank customers. Such users will either have to get an Equitel sim card or use their debit card. The sim card is a pretty straightforward option, where one can pick from a standard size SIM, micro, nano and thin SIM based on their requirements. The micro and nano SIM will sell for Kshs 50 with the thin-SIM selling for Kshs 500 inclusive of Kshs 200 airtime. The debit card option requires one to use their ATM card in setting up their account.
This, however, requires the user to have an M-banking pin from the bank which you have to apply for. A colleague who already has an Equity Bank account and sought to make the transition had to visit the branch, get an M-Banking pin before starting to transact (This requires some form of automation and the guys in UpperHill should work on this). Dormant accounts also count as Equity bank accounts, so you would need to go to the bank to have it activated (price is Kshs 200).
Once you have the account up and running, you can perform all manner of transactions from airtime purchases to transfers and even borrow loans via the platform. Equity App will allow you operate transactions of Kshs 100,000 after which they will need to abide by know your customer rules for transactions of higher value.The App also allows up to 6 signatures for joint accounts, chamas and limited companies where transactions require signatures of several signatories.
Once one person initiates, the other signatories are sent notifications to sign within the app for the transaction to be complete. Removes need for paperwork in fast paced businesses. This has in turn simplified the process for users. Through the App, I was able to perform several transactions including airtime purchases and receive large payments from another Equity Bank user.
- After downloading the App, one is ushered into this splash screen.
2. One is then required to click on the Get Started button, which opens up the app’s sign-up process
3. You then get to choose the mode of sign up based on the below options. Not having an Equity Bank account, I chose the final option.
4. After keying in your details, you receive a text message complete with your login details and then can begin to use Equitel services.
5. The Login Page
6. The various options available to me upon login
7. A brief summary of some of my transactions over the last month or so
8. Tapping the button ushers in a set of activities I can perform on the App
So yep! I am now an Equity Bank account holder, through an app.