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FDH Mobile is magical

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FDH’s ad about its USSD mobile app aroused my interest. I decided to open an account and test the pudding.

A gorgeous lady took me through the process at the open-new account desk. I filled forms where among other things the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) wanted to know what was not its business; whether I owned a house or a car.

I was asked to provide a water bill. When I wanted to know whether the bank was running a promotion where it settled customers’ bills or not, the lady realised that before her was probably a customer from hell.

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She politely educated me that the central bank uses this information to ensure that nobody with money laundering record should ever open an account. I wondered whether the big bank was so gullible to believe that those in money laundering do not pay water bills; who told them?

All the tedious paper work done, the lady told me to go and return the following morning to collect my account number.

When I did, I was told to come yet the following day. Just there, my patience was tested. Are you a child of God? I yelled. “ Do you know that the excellent God you and I worship created Everest Mountain, Sapitwa, the beautiful stack-up stones in mountains of Harare, the gold in South Africa, Indian Ocean, The crocodile, the chirping birds, Mugabe, Donald Trump, Idi Amin, Savimbi and everything else in just six days?

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Nonetheless, I was thrilled that I finally had an account with FDH, my passport to FDH mobile. The application form this time around was short and straightforward; the bank did not want to know how many children I had. In just under 24 hours, I received an SMS with a temporary passcode. I was pleasantly surprised it was so quick.

First, a two item menu appeared: Mobile banking and Mobile wallet. I dived straight into the first item. A similar submenu to National Bank of Malawi’s Mo626 ice emerged. There were additions though: Other banking services, Admin and Cardless Withdraw.

Other banking services included apply for a loan, issue standing order, exchange rates, apply for a cheque and stop a cheque submenus.

The Admin is what it is; you use it to change a passcode or to delete a beneficiary on mobile wallets.

What caught my eye was the Cardless ATM withdrawals item. I immediately wanted to try it out. I asked for a K 2,000 wallet and behold I was issued with a cardless pin which was accepted at the FDH ATM. This means that I can get this kind of pin, which expires after 240 minutes, text it to a wife in Mzuzu and she would get the money at the nearest FDH ATM. Fairylike.

I can also register her phone on the system and FDH Mobile can send the wallet straight to her phone and no bank account is required for the wife.

How robust is it? I put to some stress test. I sent it on an errand to buy ESCOM units after mid-night. I did so faithfully without even blinking. Other mobile systems shy away late at night, except of course, NBM Mo626 iCe.

The hallmark of good product, according to Horst Shulze, hides in three things: must be without defects, timeliness and non-nonsense service delivery. What would you say about FDH Mobile? To Dr. Thom Mpinganjira, Happy Christmas!

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