Co-operative bank of Kenya recently upgraded their mobile banking service which is still on the USSD platform to offer more options on multiple payment to other mobile money services as well as to other user accounts.
USSD ( Unstructured Supplementary Service Data ) is a service commonly used in banking, mobile polling, security systems and education, USSD is standard GSM technology supported by all GSM handsets. It is session-based and supports longer message content. Secure and cost-effective, sessions can be initiated by both end-users and enterprises.
However, as Coop were busy upgrading their service offering within the same USSD platform, their competition has already moved into mobile applications with NIC, KCB, Chase Bank being among the first to launch theirs.
There is only so much that one can do on the USSD platform with the limitation being, ability to offer the most number of services with the ease and convenience that still gives value to the customer.
Co-operative bank became the Equity of banking when Barclays decided that no one should ever be between jobs or keep a dormant account for more than 3 months and proceeded to close most of these accounts (they soon realized that they needed those tu- 20K and below bank balances) However, after Co-op upgraded their mobile banking system, many might start looking for better options(the grass is always greener on the other side – this is not a product endorsement)
Alot of Kenyans use the mobile banking service because it save them from withdrawing money from an ATMs only to go to an Mpesa Agent to deposit the same to make payments in shorter words, they pay for CONVENIENCE.
Soon after the Co-op mobile banking system upgrade, most users could not locate the ‘transfer to Mpesa’ option till they called the support team. I am trying to ‘gestimate'( this is the new word to use in interviews in case you missed this Vera vybe) how many of their customers called to be guided through the new menu.
Previously, one only chose at most 5 options to initiate an Mpesa transfer transaction. Now, the options are so many and redundant that the session given lapses with an “Invalid MMI code” error especially if one is doing this in transit.
What really baffles is that Coop requires one to register with the cell phone number they would like the service to be on. Thus if one has only registered for mobile banking with a Safaricom Sim card, would they then choose Airtel Money as an option to transfer to?
Who drew their logical flow diagram? He needs to be subjected to the same torture women in river road are going through with skin bleach needle injections. Seriously!!
Those irrelevant questions can be avoided once the user enters their PIN and reduce the steps from 15 to 5 at least. Customers are not launching a nuclear code for them to answer all those questions and confirm that, yes, they chose 1 and not 2.
Coop bank seriously needs to develop their own app and follow the trend that most banks have set instead of making their customers dread using their mobile banking service.