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All banks should have a USSD facility for customers to access services on phones

Accessing various banking services on your mobile phone has become the new norm, partly due to the effects we now face from the current pandemic. Customers can access various services such as transferring cash to different accounts including mobile wallets, paying utility bills in minutes and even opening an account without necessarily having to visit the respective branch office.

And while we can now say mobile banking has become a thing for any bank that wants to get as many customers as it possibly can, there are still some hurdles that needs to be addressed for a full compliance to mobile banking. Access to a mobile phone surely plays a pivotal role in ensuring that we are able to access any service from a financial institution.

There are two main ways that financial institutions such as banks can avail to customers the possibility to almost do anything right on their mobile phones. We have the most used option of a mobile app and what I feel should be a necessity to all customers via a USSD code.

Truth is, each lender has its own way of identifying which method to give preference when it comes to choosing between a mobile app or a USSD code. Just approach any Kenyan and you’ll most likely hear a ton of problems associated with either of the two options from their banks. In most cases, you’ll hear customers saying the app is working but not the code or the code is working but not the app. Its very hard to find a provider with both options actively working 100 percent.

Why each bank should have a working USSD code option

For a start, USSD option can be accessed on any kind of a phone regardless of type or make. You just need to have a cellular network and some airtime to use the USSD option. This is very important, especially in an economy like ours that still has vast majority of customers on feature phones that cannot be installed with an app.

Secondly, there’s no need to have access to the internet whatsoever to use a USSD code. This is particularly important in remote areas that do not have unlimited access to the internet.

Thirdly, some platforms do not have apps from respective institutions. Just recently, we have new devices that utilize KaiOS instead of the top two smartphone operating systems, as such, there’s no app available on those platforms.

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