SC Mobile: Standard Chartered’s gamechanger

Banking in today’s world is all about convenience. What would have seemed like a normal banking experience just a decade ago, will today seem unthinkable and even straight out of this world like queuing for 30 mins to check account balance.

Banks continue to invest in their service infrastructure to ensure that they meet the everchanging needs of their customers at the touch of a screen.

In an economy where you have more than thirty banks, the competition is even keener and banks that show not just the desire but the understanding of the needs of their customers will mostly come up tops.

In this project of the Business and Financial Times (B&FT), award-winning ICT journalist, Richard Annerquaye Abbey, will be reviewing a number of mobile banking applications to detail their ease of usage, efficiency, features among other things that make an app a good one.

Today’s mobile banking app is the SC Mobile, belonging to the Standard Chartered Bank — one of the oldest banks in not just only Ghana, but in the whole of the sub-Saharan African region. The bank has been operating in the country since 1896, and could well be trusted to bring to bear its leadership in the banking industry on its SC Mobile App.

There are two versions of the app – iOS and Android, to cater for the vast majority of smartphone users running those operating systems. For an app to be considered to be effective, it is important to judge it by what the app has been built to do.

The SC Mobile available for download for less than 7MB on Google Playstore and iOS Appstore, comes in handy not taking up so much space which is good news for  most smartphone users

While not gulping precious storage on your phone due to sheer size, it makes do with relatively small memory when in use meaning it does not slowdown the performance of your phone as some apps notoriously do.

Before we get to its main features, it is worth noting that the interface of the SC Mobile, is as simple as it can get. The app takes less than five seconds to initiate and much less time to open [of course depending on the speed of your internet] when login details are entered.

The other unique feature is that the App can be accessed biometrically with a user’s thumbprint on both iOS and Android platforms. This adds a far higher level of security than most apps. The first page after a successful login offers users their balance and their loan balance -where applicable.

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It’s also instructive to know that the app can be accessed by Standard Chartered account holders there is no two ways about it so if you don’t have an account – the app could provide you a reason to have one.

Some of the salient features of the app include the ability for users to transfer funds from their accounts to Standard Chartered bank accounts globally as well as from Standard Chartered Accounts to and to other local banks instantly.

In an era where banks are trying to reduce amount of time customers spend in banking halls, the SC Mobile app offers enough features that save its clients’ time and money because they can do so many transactions on their app on the go.

This seamless transfer provides a way out of the lengthy paperwork that would have to be completed at any of the bank’s branch for that same transaction — convenient for business folks with financial obligations outside the shores of the country.

Another convenience offered by the app is the payment of utilities such as DSTV and GoTV Bills, ECG bill payments, Vodafone broadband, Surfline data, TV License and purchasing of airtime on all networks among many others. This functionality, it has to be said, has become the common denominator for most banking apps and its refreshing to see that the SC Mobile opted for it and it’s working well.

It is difficult to imagine how the plastic cards we hold today and make all kinds of payments with interact with the Mobile App. Can they talk together and how do they complement each other.  In case you have these questions, here is the answer. Apart from getting access to funds in your account on the app, you can equally add your debit and credit cards issued by Stanchart to the app to undertake any of the functions earlier on indicated.

The best part of the app is its security. Of course, a mobile banking app no matter its mouthwatering features without the requisite security will always leave customers exposed.  – and no one would want that to happen to them or their money.

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To use the app, customers should first download from app store and then sign-up using their debit or credit card details.

When the app is opened, the login session times out after a minute to prevent unauthorized access. For some selected transactions such as when you set up a new payment party or do a onetime transaction to a payment party that is not already set up, the app generates a pin and sends to the mobile number of the user which must then be entered to validate the transaction.

This may appear like a long process but it all happens in a few seconds and surely is in the interest of customers and affords them a second layer of security in the event that through the customer’s mistake the password to the app is compromised.

For users that would rather not commit complex passwords to memory and have phones with fingerprint scanners, as you would have in certain models of Samsung phones and iPhones, they can configure their login details with their fingerprint.

The SC Mobile App may seem like one of those apps until one gets to know how transformational impact it has had on Stanchart. According to Henry Baye, Executive Director and Head of Retail Banking, Ghana and West Africa, at Standard Chartered, 95 percent of all funds transfers carried out by clients are taking place on the SC Mobile app.

Most clients make payments to other clients either in the same bank or in another bank by writing cheques. With the provision of the Mobile app and enabling funds transfers capabilities, most clients are reducing their usage of cheques. The result is that the number of Standard Chartered Bank cheques processed three years ago has halved.

The current SC Mobile already provides many solutions for clients but Mr. Baye indicates that they are not resting on their laurels. The bank is currently working on some updates to enhance the app’s functionalities. By September this year, a raft of new features will be introduced that will take establishing a relationship, transacting and servicing to an entirely new level for their clients.

After being in operation for over 120 years, Standard Chartered Bank is banking on its mobile app to shape its business for perhaps another century – and judging by the way the app has been accepted by customers, the bank is doing something quite right.

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