Econet customers can now access NMBConnect, NMB Bank’s Digital Branch, free of data costs. This was announced today by NMB Bank chief executive Ben Washaya, who said work was underway to conclude a similar zero rating agreement with NetOne.
“We believe access to data or airtime should not be a barrier to safe and convenient banking, which is why we are partnering with mobile phone networks for zero rated access to our digital banking platforms,” Mr Washaya said.
“Econet is the first mobile phone network that we have concluded a zero rating agreement with. Work is underway to conclude a similar agreement with NetOne,” he added.
NMBConnect is a digital banking platform that can be accessed online or through the NMBConnect App or by using the USSD short code *241#.
The use of the USSD short code was already free of charge. Now Econet customers can also use the other means of connecting with NMBConnect without incurring data or airtime charges.
Customers have been able to make use of WiFi connected self-service at NMB branches to carry out transactions but now those with Econet lines can make use of the zero rating to carry out transactions from their smart phone without visiting a branch.
NMB Bank has been upgrading its NMBConnect platform, gradually adding more functions to it, as it seeks to migrate customers to digital and electronic banking channels to give them maximum convenience, enabling them to carry out their banking transactions from the comfort of their home or office or from wherever else they may be using their smart phone or laptop.
With Covid-19 necessitating social distancing and minimal contact between one person and another, the bank has accelerated this development, in a bid to enable virtually all transactions to be conducted digitally. It recently announced that NMBConnect was now a virtual branch with every banking transaction, including the withdrawal and depositing of cash, now possible on this platform.
“There is now no need to visit a branch for any transaction except to collect or hand over the cash that through NMBConnect you have withdrawn or deposited. What could be more convenient than that?” Mr Washaya asked rhetorically.
“You can even send someone else to collect or hand over the cash, advising the bank through NMBConnect of your representative’s details,” he said.
“No paperwork is required. You or your representative just present the teller at the branch with the transaction reference code generated when you do the withdrawal or deposit, which is also sent to your mobile phone.”
Even non-customers who wish to open an account with NMB Bank can do so via NMBConnect. The platform allows them to upload Know Your Customer (KYC) documents without any need to visit a physical branch.
An NMBLite account can be opened instantly via the *241# short code. NMBLite account holders can upgrade their account to a current or savings account through NMBConnect App.
Mr Washaya said the bank continued to register an increased uptake of NMBConnect via the app and short code not only from existing customers but non-customers opening accounts.
Loan applications, internal transfers, RTGS transfers, bill payments, DSTV payments, school fees payments and ZIMRA payments can all be done through the NMBConnect Virtual Branch.
Digital receipts are issued. Digital proof of payments can be obtained from the Virtual Branch and be shared via email or WhatsApp.
An automated loan application allows personal loan applications using the *241# shortcode, with almost instant disbursements.
Both nostro account and ZWL account transactions can be done through NMBConnect. Online billers within the bank’s system include Econet, Telecel, NetOne, TelOne and ZOL, enabling customers to buy data and airtime through the NMBConnect.
“We believe that digital banking offers customers convenience, safety during this Covid-19 pandemic and the ability to manage their own bank account. With zero rated connection to NMBConnect for Econet customers and hopefully for subscribers of other networks in the near future, we are removing one of the last barriers to accessing our digital bank,” Mr Washaya said.