The novel Coronavirus pandemic and the resulting social distancing protocols are driving banks to accelerate their digital transformation strategies, with laggards likely to suffer rapid franchise deterioration as customer preferences and competition evolves more rapidly across emerging markets.
In Ghana, the situation is not different and as an industry leader in innovative solutions that offer convenience to its clientele, Access Bank Ghana continues to roll out industry first electronic and digital payments platforms and solutions that bring its products and services closer to the door steps of its customers, including underserved and unbanked sections of the population in the midst of COVID-19.
Among the various e-banking products and services offered by Access Bank Ghana are:
*901# – USSD Mobile Banking (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data)
This service was introduced in 2017 to drive financial inclusion by providing banking services to the unbanked society. This service allows customers at all levels, through the USSD feature on phones, to access the Bank’s complete banking services at their convenience on the go. This technology has the potential to meet the twin goals of vastly reducing the cost of providing banking services while serving customers in a faster and more convenient manner.
By lowering servicing costs, *901# will have a positive impact on Ghana’s economic development, promoting financial inclusion amongst the unbanked and under banked. Some of the services and features available on this channel are:
- Account to Account Transfer and 3rd Party Transfers via ACH
- Mobile Money wallet transfers
- Merchant and Bill Payment
- Airtime Top-up
- Instant Transfer to other Bank Accounts
- Instant Account Opening
- Customer Information Update
PayDay Loan Service
A convenient, quick and stress free way for Salaried workers to get a loan for the extra things you need to take care of. All a customer needs to do is simply dial *901*11# to access the service. The service features include:
- No documentation or collateral needed
- Convenient and instant
- Loan disbursed in seconds.
- Works 24/7
Access Mobile App
The mobile application, which was enhanced in 2016, is a game changer in the industry. The Mobile Banking application provides customers with, superior mobile banking service experience in line with its promise to deliver more than banking. Like other apps, the Access Mobile app needs to be downloaded on a smartphone device using IOS (Apple), Android or BlackBerry World operating system. Bearing in mind security for users, the mobile app gives users the option of typing in their password or simply using facial recognition or fingerprint technology to have access to the app. Other features include:
- International transfers
- Transfers to other banks and Mobile Money wallet
- Cheque Management System
- Card Management System
- Branch and ATM Locator
- Standing instructions on account
- Bill Payment
- Beneficiary management
This is a web-based management platform used by corporate entities for Salary processing and Third-party bulk payments. Below are more details about ACESSPAY:
- Has a two-factor security feature which requires the use of a token to authorize payments
- Supports both one-time bulk and recurrent payments to multiple accounts within the Bank and to third party banks.
- One-off and Recurrent payments within Access Bank ,3rd party banks and Mobile money wallets
- Payment of SSNIT and port handling charges (Meridian Port Services)
- Multilevel and role based approval workflow
- Detailed payment and audit report
- Allows upload of supporting payment documents
- Viewing of multiple bank balances
- Viewing and printing of statements
Mobile Money payment on POS
In addition to merchants and retailers accepting Visa and MasterCard on their Point of Sale Terminal (POS) devices, the bank has partnered with MTN, AirtelTigo and Vodafone to integrate their mobile money services on these devices. This means that merchants can accept payment of their goods into their Access Bank accounts or mobile money wallets through their POS. This ease of transaction prevents theft and helps customers to keep track of their daily sales to maximise profits and increase growth. Today, the bank has all merchant customers across the country enjoying this service which also provides convenience to their patrons.
LIVE B3TA is a class of savings account placed in Closed User Group on extension of the Bank’s *901# mobile banking platform. This allows LIVE B3TA account holders to conduct mobile money transactions through their accounts for free. Deposits and withdrawals are performed via mobile money agents where funds on mobile money wallets are transferred in and out to fund LIVE B3TA accounts. Customers receive instant SMS alerts to confirm transactions. Customers also have the opportunity to request a mini statement digitally which is received instantly via SMS. For groups, a one-time password/pins are received by two designated members on their phones to authorize before the initiator can proceed with transactions.
The “LIVE B3TA” savings account forms part of the unique solutions offered by Access Bank’s flagship women empowerment programme, “W” Initiative. It is supported by Savings at the Frontier (SatF), a joint programme by Mastercard Foundation and Oxford Policy Management Ltd (OPM), which is aimed at improving the financial inclusion of low-income individuals and communities in sub-Saharan Africa.
AccessAfrica Money Transfer
AccessAfrica is a cross-border remittance product for person-to-person, business-to-person, business-to-business and government-to-persons transfers. Awarded “Best Money Transfer Product” at the 2019 GITTA awards, the product allows customers to send and receive money across countries in Africa where the Bank has presence including Nigeria, Ghana, The Gambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Zambia, Dubai and Sierra Leone with the addition of countries of non-presence soon. The product has been integrated into the Access Mobile App and Retail Internet banking platform, enabling customers to perform their transactions right from their phones and laptops without the need to visit a branch.
Today, with the AccessAfrica platform, customers are able to make payments and transfers when and how they need to while businesses trade in new markets and invest in new technology.
Other measures taken during COVID-19
Some of the measures implemented by the Bank also include;
- Waivers on all Interbank transfers
- Upward review of limits for transactions on digital products
- Reliefs to business customers severely affected by the pandemic
- Free webinars for customers on measures to take during this period to sustain growth. This is in partnership with the IFC.
- Customer onboarding from start to finish has been made seamless without visiting the Bank. Customers can open and fund their account remotely, whiles linking same with their mobile money wallet.