The reach of banking services has been broadened by FBC Bank through the launch of a virtual banking service. In a statement, the bank announced that it is now offering individuals a facility to open full bank accounts through mobile, via USSD (*220#) or the FBC Bank app.
This is something similar to what we have seen before. Steward Bank announced in 2018 a similar facility on their *236# USSD platform.
What makes this development from FBC different, however, is that these aren’t lite accounts, these are full KYC Accounts. Lite accounts are hampered by limits and strict restrictions. A full KYC Account isn’t anywhere near as restricted as a lite account.
What type of accounts is FBC offering via mobile?
FBC Bank are offer are offering 5 account types:
- Current Account
- FCA Account
- Savings Acccount
- Improved Instant Card
- Digital Wallet
I tried the platform out myself and was able to open a local currency account through FBC’s USSD (*220#) code. The process didn’t all that long to complete and I got a confirmation message with an account number not long after I was done.
Without the need to submit documentation and the process being as simple as entering: (via USSD)
- Full name
- Identification Number (ID Number)
The requirements of this platform are similar to those FBC used for their insurance service Yako. The lack of documentation means that the database they used for Yako is possibly the same on they are using to open accounts via mobile.
This facility is also open to those in the diaspora:
“Our FBC Virtual team is ready to onboard Zimbabweans in the Diaspora who are now also able to apply for FBC Accounts digitally and seamlessly transact whilst they are abroad.”FBC Bank
Why is this Important?
This move by FBC means that people in the rural areas for example, without physical branches, can open full bank accounts. The inclusion of a USSD platform means that you just have to have a cellular phone in order to have banking services.
The second reason, and no less important, is the ZWL$5000.00 transaction limit that the RBZ requires of EcoCash and other mobile money operators. Individuals who relied on EcoCash because of lack of banks in the area, now have FBC as a viable alternative.
On FBC’s end, if this is marketed effectively and extensively, they could be able to take a huge portion of the market of people looking for alternatives to EcoCash.