Local retail financial institution NMB Bank Zimbabwe has launched NMBlite a low-cost bank account aimed at the lower end market.
This new account has no monthly bank charges though it does carry a flat charge – 50 cents- for both bank and ATM withdrawals.
Opening the account requires a deposit $5 plus the usual – national ID (your driving licence or passport works), proof of residence, and two passport-sized photographs.
Its accompanying debit card is an NMB Access card which can be used at any NMB Point of Sale terminal at various retailers and service providers. It is also activated for Zimswitch transactions.
The NMBlite account can be used to access the bank’s internet and mobile banking services which include bill payments and money transfer.
Account holders will also have access to insurance products and they can apply for a Visa card, which can be used internationally as well as locally.
Described by NMB bank as “an aspirational account”, NMBLite is NMB Bank’s first take at offering a service for the mass market in Zimbabwe which is largely unbanked.
Prior to the introduction of competition in the form of mobile money services financial inclusion in Zimbabwe was limited to banking services that were largely used by individuals and institutions active in the formal economy.
However, the macro environment has changed significantly and with informal services and the traditionally lower end of the market contributing significantly to liquidity, banks have had to tailor products that address this market.
By doing so NMB Bank joins other retail banks like Steward Bank, CBZ, POSB and ZB Bank that also introduced easy to register low entry bank accounts and debit cards supported by every e-banking solution. These provide “traditional” banking services with limited barriers to financial inclusion.
Together with low-cost models like agent banking these could be the last game in town for all retail banks as they make every bit of effort to extend their services to the new banking non-elite.
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