It’s becoming clear with each passing day that banks as we know them will not . Unlike in the past, customers are increasingly looking to access their money away from the brick and mortar bank branch that we are used to. In Kenya, it is also clear that mobile is a
It must have been this understanding that inspired CBA (Commercial Bank of Africa) to launch their bank product Loop. CBA Loop was launched in March this year and it is a Personal Financial Management (PFM) tool, which enables customers to track, plan and analyse their income against their expenditure.
I have been using Loop for a little over a month now and here are my thoughts on it.
Registration is quite quite lengthy, with the process beginning on either their app (Android & iOS) or website (cbaloop.com). The registration process ends with a visit to a Loop Store, where additional details are collected and a Debit Card issued.
The last bit feels unnecessary and CBA should allow people to upload identity documents and pictures. Basically, customers should be able to open and accounts and even receive their debit cards remotely.
App and Website
The app is probably the best thing about Loop. It’s easy to use and the menu items are clear.
To log into the app, you need an email address and a password. The email isn’t saved and you have to keep on typing each time you want to log in which is annoying. The app should save the email address and have the option of changing it in case someone else wants to log in.
The app also times out quite fast and prompts you to log in again. The website is similar to the app in features but I prefer using the app.
You can load money in the following ways.
Customers will be able to top up their Loop account in the following ways:
1. Via M-pesa Payill 714777. Use your Loop account number as the account.
2. Transfer from another Loop Account
3. Transfer from a CBA Bank account
4. Wire transfer from other Banks
5. Cash deposit at any CBA Bank branch
You cannot deposit a cheque into a Loop account which is odd. This will force some people to have an extra account for transactions that require cheque payments.
This is one of the best features of Loop. It allows customers to send money to mobile money accounts and bank accounts through Loop, Pesa Link, EFT, RTGS and Mobile (M-Pesa, Airtel Money and Equitel). Loop transfers are charged at Ksh. 33, Pesa Link at Ksh. 44, Mobile Money at Ksh. 69.3, EFT at Ksh. 60.5 and RTGS at Ksh. 60.5.
I tried sending money using most of the options and they worked like a charm. When sending money to another bank account, RTGS is especially convenient. Another advantage of sending money via Loop is that the charges are the same despite the amount of money transferred.
Loop gives you an option to pay for services to certain companies ranging from DSTV, KPLC, ZUKU, Startimes, NHIF among others.
When you want to pay for say for KPLC Prepaid tokens then you just pick KPLC Prepaid. The PayBill number is already on the app and all you have to do is input the account number, amount, password and you are good to go.
A key feature that is linked to Pay Bills is expense tracking. Every time you pay for a service, it is recorded under a category, say utilities for electricity payments, and this will help you track the amounts that you spend per month on different items.
Online and point of sale transactions
Loop was practically made for online payments. The cards work well for online payments and I used with Uber, Amazon, Netflix among others. The debit card also works for point of sale payments.
Through this feature Loop allows its customers to invest as little as 1,000. The rate of return ranges between 7.5% for a three month investment and 9% for a 12 month one. Once the investment matures, the interest and principal is sent to your Loop account. There is also an option to reinvest the principal amount if the customer so wishes.
This feature is awesome especially because once you have invested, the payout is automatic and you can even choose perpetual reinvestment of your money until you need it.
The app has this cool feature that helps you budget every month. You can set a certain amount of money for say Internet and if you spend more than that the app will alert you. For it work, you have to make most of your payments using the service either using the card or the app.
This feature is helps you save money for future use. For instance if you want go to on holiday in December and you need say Ksh. 60,000, the app allows you to set how much you want deducted from your account and set aside for your goal of going on holiday.
The service has two features, Buy Goods and Loop Loan, that haven’t been activated yet. The Loop Loan will be especially interesting because short term mobile loans have proved popular in this market and it might draw in customers.
CBA Loop has some kinks that need to be worked on but overall it is such as awesome product. Someone can basically use this service as a channel for expenses and it will help them track how they are spending and going forward help them spend better. It’s a go for me.