Saturday, July 27, 2013

Going App to get better Banking Service

It's been over a a month since Barclays Kenya gave a peek to its' new banking app that can be downloaded from the android and apple stores.  The app offers customers full service in terms of viewing account transaction histories (of up to 3 months), making payments and transfers, and finding Barclays ATM's & branches.  

While other banks have like KCB, Equity and Co-Op have chosen the  agency banking route, Barclays has gone for an app - and with a device like a Samsung Galaxy Tab, other Android phone or Apple device, you can now make payments on the go such for credit card bills, water bills, with a few clicks that take less than a minute to make in lieu of previous visits to banking halls to queue and fill out forms. 

The app works on the premise that you build functions on the Barclays web  platform where you go and setup/add accounts, add payees such as utilities, credit cards, landlords etc. (if they bank with Barclays), and other details.

It is free to use (for now), and one attraction of this app is that it comes at a time when banks are clawing back on services like free monthly statements which are sent to fewer and fewer customers - and yet, oddly, remain a mandatory requirement to bring in to the bank for a loan or credit card application. You can get mini-statements at the ATM, but they fade after a few days in your pocket or wallet. 

The Barclays app is still a test app, on which the Bank hope to build more functions around it with time. It also appears there are working apps for customers in other countries like Ghana, Zambia, UAE, Botswana and Mauritius. 

Some issues to consider so far include; 
- Each time you log in, it asks you to answer a secret question (even if you've entered the password correctly). For this, it's advisable to set your secret answer to be as simple as possible e.g. if you pick out a favourite movie (and year) as a secret answer, just fill in 'Matrix', not  'The Matrix', 'Matrix1999', 'Matrix 99'  or 'Matrix(space)1999' - as if you get it wrong, the system does not provide for an alternate question.
- Statements are not formatted to export or print. You can print or export 3 month old statements in Excel or PDF formats

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