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2017 year of banking tech innovations

The cardless FDH money dispensing machines introduced last year; aroused epiphany; the realization that banking services don’t have to be mediocre. 2017, will bring in more eureka moments.

Not far from now, National Bank ATMs will go cardless. According to an inside source, the bank of the nation will go a notch further; Mo 626 will be installable application downloadable from either the Windows Phone store or Google Play. These apps are ready to roll.

In 2017, you will fire Mo 626 even from Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp or Telegram. Let’s say that you are hypothetically engaged with your girlfriend on Facebook and suddenly issues of “duties of care” crop up.

Right there in Facebook you will be able to check your bank balance at National Bank Livingstone Towers by simply typing Mo 626 before transfering funds to her Mzuzu National Bank Service Centre-held account.

Like FDH Mobile, National Bank’s Mo 626 will be interconnected to both Airtel Money and TNM Mpamba. This should have happened as soon as yesterday but it is very easy to understand the indeterminacy.

TNM Mpamba and Airtel Money tap into a market that is not the focus of banks. But should the two be interconnected, there is always the chance that the banks can start to eat somebody’s lunch.

The question is: once the interconnection is done, should customers access Mpamba from Banks app or from TNM’s side of issues? If I were TNM and Airtel, I would insist on the later.

The ideal situation, however is when customers are able to connect from either sides.

The corporate world would desire to pay salaries of the unbanked employees through Airtel Money, Mpamba or Zoona straight from the bank accounts. Because that is where the funds reside.

At the end of the day, Zoona, Mpamba or Airtel Money are not self-contained financial institutions. They are system without a physical bank; on the other hand Mo 626 is a system with a physical bank to support it.

The small fights are over; there is symbiosis and the customer will have variety.

There will be innovations from elsewhere in 2017; small amount cheque transactions will move from the central bank to the National switch Centre. At the moment all cheques have to through the Reserve Bank.

While that tightens monetary security; the oxymoron is that while the central bank cares to know why I pay K2, 000 offerings cheque to my church, the same controlling authority does not care about whatever I spend by swiping my card or transfers I make on Mo626 or FDH’s Mobile Money.

While the central bank may be timely in clearing cheques, some banks may have dissimilar platforms with the central bank and manual inputs takes forever.

The mystery of this is that, while a cheque drawn from the same bank and branch takes six days to clear ( if deposited on a Wednesday after mid-day), cashgate funds sipped through this watertight security and went away with billions of Kwachas.

Bankers usually mumble an answer when asked why the cheque issuing entity’s account is debited within 24 hours yet it takes forever for the funds to ‘walk’ to the recipient account.

Can I safely assume that the money is part of the interbank loans and Lombard facilities we read in newspaper financial weekly reviews?

Fasten your seat belts and relax; the banks are going to cruise into tech bliss in 2017. Beware though, use your cheque book sparingly; it is some old cheese.

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