FBC Bank has made the bizarre choice of launching a “Send-to-Cell” service. For those who might not be aware, this service allows you to send money from your FBC account to any mobile number on any network.
This is hardly a new service because we saw something like this from CABS last year and there were some problems with it. Before we get into that let’s take a look at how you can send-to-cell on FBC Bank’s *220# USSD.
- Dial *220#
- Select Banking Services
- Enter PIN
- Select Option 3- Send to Cell
- Select Account
- Enter destination mobile number
- Input the amount you wish to send
- Enter Reference(Optional)
- Confirm the transaction by Entering 1
The recipient on the other end will then get a confirmation message and instructions on how to redeem the money sent.
This didn’t work out for CABS can FBC do it better?
The biggest difference between CABS and FBC is that FBC hasn’t made it a condition to open a lite account. When CABS launched its send-to-cell platform they said that the recipient had to register for Textacash in order to claim the money.
This presented a few problems the major ones being:
- There were no inherent benefits to opening a Textacash (it’s a KYC lite account)
- Service charges as CABS customer were, in my opinion, too high to make this viable
- It would be easier to just send the money via ZIPIT or EcoCash
In FBC press release it said that the recipient would then get further instructions on how to redeem the funds sent. If we are to speculate, this would mean that the recipient will most likely have to visit an FBC branch in order to do this.
Like with the CABS situation it would be easier to just send the money via ZIPIT or EcoCash than it would be to send over FBC send-to-cell.
Last year FBC Bank starting opened a facility to allow anyone to open a range of accounts via the bank’s USSD and Bank app. This innovation greatly increased the range of banking services to those who relied on mobile money.
As we are all aware EcoCash and other mobile money wallets were hit by a number of restrictions. This meant that you could only transact within very tight limits (ZWL$35k a week) and this was and still is a massive inconvinience to the transacting public.
I think that FBC could have coupled its send-to-cell service with the USSD account opening. They wouldn’t have done one better than CABS because the account that you’d be opening to redeem the funds was a full KYC account.
The recipient would have been able to transact with more freedom if they only had mobile money and this would have netted FBC a lot of new clients. Hopefully, this is a feature that FBC can bake into the service because they, in my opinion, would have a lot to gain.