NIGERIA:Remitaâ€™s disruptive mobile app throws banks off balance
The Remita app, one of the newest entrants into Nigeria’s financial system, is proving to be a huge disruptor in how FinTech impacts on banking operations in the country, and how customers operate their bank accounts.
The app is provisioned to accommodate as many bank accounts as a customer has, without any restrictions, allowing users to carry out all banking transactions from one single interface, instead of logging into different apps in order to utilise services across multiple banks.
It enables viewing all accounts from different banks on one screen, accessing and centrally managing account balances through the multi-bank balance feature. It also facilitates transfer of funds to individuals, corporate bodies, as well as payment of recurring utility or government bills.
Oyindamola Olofinlua, Content Marketing Executive, SystemSpecs, told BusinessDay, that the app is currently connected to eight banks, while others are work in progress. Banks that have been boarded on the app include Access Bank, Diamond Bank, First City Monument Bank, Heritage Bank, Providus Bank, Skye Bank, Sterling Bank, Unity Bank, and Zenith Bank.
While the innovation appears disruptive and bound to make life a lot easier for bank customers, the sentiments are not shared by banks, as the app appears to be an intrusion into their evolving business model.
Most banks have in recent times, upgraded their banking applications to incorporate provisions for customers to engage in shopping directly from their mobile apps. This evolving business model of “mobile shopping malls” is one where a lot of banks hope to generate additional streams of income. However, it appears to them that the Remita app is one which has to be resisted, so as not to disrupt the new business model.
Olofinlua, however explained that banks still have a chance to make money through the Remita app. According to her, the company has existing contracts that ensure revenue from transactions done on mobile are shared along the existing commercial considerations.
Security is another concern shared by both banks and prospective users of the app.
Ade Shonubi, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) Plc, attributed banks resistance to the Remita Mobile App, to the issue of security, saying that banks are not sure of the security of the app.
“If Remita is able to convince the banks on the security, or work with their authorisation, then there would be no problem”, Shonubi told BusinessDay by phone.
On Remita’s part, Olofinlua allayed users’ cyber security fears, stating that the Remita Mobile App “is very secure and protected with state of the art biometrics measures. For those with less powerful smartphones, our dynamic PIN – which is the first of its type in the country, changes, every time it is used. We also run very advanced security and anti-fraud counter-measures behind the scenes, to ensure everyone is protected.
“The interest in our app has been very significant. We have trended on social media for days, as everyone wants to know how the magic of multi-bank solution has been implemented by us so elegantly and securely.”
She further noted that there have been challenges in trying to get all the banks to come on board the platform. However, discussions are currently ongoing to ensure every party is properly engaged.
The multi-bank mobile application is described as one of the biggest innovations in the banking industry, allowing individuals and businesses to operate their various accounts in different banks, using one app, settle bills of various kinds and generally stay in control of their finances.
Regardless of the seeming euphoria on the Remita app, some of the tier one and tier two bank heads who spoke with BusinessDay, expressed the view that their customers are still using their own bank mobile apps, rather than that of any third party.