Bots are all the rage right now, Steward Bank recently launched WhatsApp banking and now we have a cool alternative that allows you to transact using a chatbot on WhatsApp. It sounds pretty convenient and after taking it for a spin it actually seems very cool.
First thing’s first this requires a companion application before you can actually get to EcoCash-ing on WhatsApp. The app called WhatsEco is available on the Google Play Store for free and after a short registration, you’ll be taken to WhatsApp where you can then initiate the chatbot conversation.
By simply typing “Send money to [insert number of individual/merchant]” the bot dials the USSD code and a prompt pops up and all you’re simply left to do is enter your PIN. What this means is that you can complete the following transactions on your EcoCash via WhatsApp:
- Send Money
- Pay Merchant
- Pay School Fees
- Cash Out
- Pay Bills
- Bulk Payments
From that list, you may be wondering how bulk payments will work and this short video is a pretty simple way to understand how it works:
Personally, I don’t see myself using this much but I guess for some this will be valuable. WhatsEco’s Play Store description also suggests that at some point users will be able to request and get customer statements via WhatsApp which is quite interesting.
Getting it to work consistently
I’m not sure what the problem was but initially, WhatsEco worked perfectly fine for me but after a few days I tried to initiate new transactions and I got no response. I’m not sure if this was a temporary thing but I’ll keep track of it to see how it fares over the next few days and if there is any consistency. It’s also important to note that the app is still in beta and this usually means there will be some errors and growing pains before a final release which should be held to a higher standard. There have also been some serious issues concerning downtime when it comes to EcoCash so, to be honest, this could be what’s affecting the bot.
Building for WhatsApp
WhatsEco and Steward Bank’s recently launched Sosholoza are a clear sign that people are building for WhatsApp and for Africa where WhatsApp is a huge part of communication and access to the internet it will be more exciting to see where this leads to and the other innovations that come as a result.
Techzim has also started selling airtime for all networks through EcoCash via WhatsApp. Here’s how you can do it in 3 easy steps.