#AppReview: Alat Mobile App Allows you ‘Open an Account in Less than 5 Minutes’
In recent times, banking in Nigeria has experienced a dynamic growth which has been driven by the quest to offer convenient services and powered by innovative technology. The past decade witnessed a progression from online banking to banking without branches and to mobile banking, all to the benefit of the customers.
The advent of mobile apps has ushered in an entirely new banking experience for most bank users. Now, you can literally pay any bill or perform other transactions on your mobile phone. Mobile apps have become a part of bank offerings; indeed the smart banks know that their online channels serve as huge branding collateral and also as tools of customer retention.
The Alat mobile App is a novel introduction to the mobile banking experience. The app, which is powered by Wema Bank, allows you open a standard account in less than 5 minutes (it’s true, I tried it). All you need to do is input your Biometric Verification Number (BVN) and your telephone number. Thereafter, the app takes you through a 3-step registration process which basically requires a few personal details and password recovery details. At the end of this exercise, you will receive a verification message on your phone.
At this verification stage, one of the many beautiful features of the app is displayed. The One Time Password authentication feature will auto-detect the text message as soon as it is sent to your phone and take you to the next stage. But, if your Sim card is inside another phone, you will have to verify manually. Once, that is done, you are good to go! You now have a new bank account and your dashboard is set.
Alat app’s design is beautiful and the structure is easy to navigate. It offers you one OF the best user experiences you can derive from any app around. Of course, some fixable bugs need to be fixed. For instance, the card ordering feature may hang the app if it is successful.
With Alat mobile app, you can perform basic transactions such as airtime purchase, bills payment, money transfer and obtaining transaction details. The bonus features include ‘Goals’, a feature that allows you create a project and the app automatically sets aside a given sum periodically. What is more? You can also order for your own ATM card and have it delivered to you at home (delivered in less than 3 days).
The biggest upside of the Alat App is the way is has made banking even easier. First, it takes away the hassle of going to a banking hall to register or maintain a bank account. Although some other banks had explored social media banking that allows you open an account using Facebook, they still require you to physically go to the bank to do some form of verification. On this app, you can scan your documents with your app and upload to your profile.
Notwithstanding, your account with Alat is still a savings account. It offers minimum functions (when compared with the possible array of services within the system). This restriction is largely based on the inability of the app to thoroughly verify its users. It relies largely on the details provided in the BVN for its verification and what they upload. The truth really is that the details in the BVN are mostly stale and in some instances, false.
For instance, I have changed residence since I did my BVN. So does the system capture my current address? If no, how can I be located if I needed to be? It is true that the users are required to upload a snapshot of the address on their utility bills. The truth is that I can share the picture of my old utility bill if I really want to be funny in the future.
The big question the app proprietors need to ask themselves is what value propositions are they selling, other than convenience? One suggestion is to allow (popular) merchants receive payment via the app by creating an account for them under bills. This way, many businesses can come on the platform and lure their customers to use the platform.
In all, Alat mobile app has extended the frontiers of mobile banking in Nigeria and once again proven that technology offers the way out of our very many system deficiencies and make living easier.