At Zenith Bank Plc, developing the right e-payment products and services remain a priority. The lender knows that e-payment is where the future lies and is committed to new product development to ensure that banking needs of its customers are met.
Zenith Bank is aware of the latest worldwide market study by Juniper Research, which showed that one billion people globally, or one in seven people on the planet, had used their phones to perform at least, one banking transaction as at the end of last year.
The research authority projects the figure to grow to two billion by 2020, representing 37 per cent of the global adult population. As internet penetration continues to deepen in Africa, the use of mobile phones as the new and preferred banking channel is expected to take the centre-stage.
Already, almost all banks in the leading countries on the continent have published mobile apps that enable a myriad of transactions such as bills payment, funds transfers, travel bookings and lots more.
The USSD is a Global System for Mobile (GSM) communication technology used to send texts between a mobile phone and an application program in the owner network.
Zenith Bank Plc is a major promoter of this channel, with the bank betting that its *966#USSD banking solution will help drive the nation’s financial integration programme being championed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Zenith Bank’s *966# USSD banking solution is themed the ‘Easy Way to Bank’ and the solution embodies every word in that statement by enabling people perform financial transactions on all known mobile phones (Feature, Smartlite or Smart), without having to go on the Net or download a mobile app. A statement from the bank explained that to open a Zenith Bank account, people only need to dial *966*0# and follow the prompts.
“An account number is automatically generated for the customer and they can start running the account after a short visit to any of the bank’s branches. To perform transactions with the solution, the bank’s customers are required to perform a one-time registration by dialing *966*00# and following the prompts,” it said.
After registering, customers can easily carry out a myriad of banking activities 24/7, such as account balance enquiries; airtime purchase, funds transfer among others. The transactions can only be performed from the phone number registered against a customer’s account with Zenith Bank and require a four-digit Personal Identification Number for transaction authentication.
Interestingly, Eazybanking by Zenith Bank is a convenient, fast, secure, and affordable way to access one’s bank account 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the mobile phone without internet connectivity. It is a session- oriented service unlike SMS which is a store and forward based service. This service is available to all individual account holders (except ZECA and Premium account holders) with any phone that runs on the GSM platform.
According to the bank, Eazybanking is different from other technologies as it provides an interactive browsing experience, its available on all GSM handsets, it has an in built USSD encryption and “no store just forward” facility for performing secure transactions and ensures faster service, as network latency is low.
In terms of security, Eazybanking platform is very safe as it has various levels of authorisation that ensures that one’s banking transactions and information remains private. Verification using Debit card (MasterCard, Visa and Verve) PAN and PIN to authorise transaction and BVN. The service can only be accessed from the number registered with the bank for transactions notification (Alertz).
The product is available to all Zenith bank individual customers. Target customers are low income earners with non- feature phones who should have a Zenith Bank account, GSM phone and alertz number. The customer is expected to simply dial *966*00# with one’s Alert Z number.
This will be subsequently followed by the four digits of your debit card number. Then the next page will display customer account name and will be prompted to create a four digit PIN, which will be confirmed.
The product has a cumulative transfer limit of N100,000 daily and cumulative transaction limit on airtime top-up is N3, 000.00. Balance enquiry, funds transfer, airtime top up, bills payment and account opening are some of the functions performed through the platform.
Equally, for balance enquiry, customers are to dial *966*00# with the short code sent using the alertZ number which must be a GSM phone. For first time service, you will be prompted to register by entering the last four digits of your Debit Card (MasterCard or Visa) or Bank Verification Number, create four digit PIN, confirm PIN. You will see a message “Retrieving balance. You will receive an SMS shortly. The customer then gets an SMS with balances on his account,” the bank said.
The lender also explained that during transfers, customers are to dial *966*amount*account number#. “Then select beneficiary bank by entering the corresponding number, followed by a confirmation page will be displayed showing beneficiary name, bank and the amount. You will be prompted to enter your 4 digit PIN. If successful, the following message will be displayed “You have successfully transferred “amount” to “beneficiary account no”. Your new balance is “amount,” it said.
For airtime top up, the customer dials *966*amount*mobile number#, which is followed by selecting a network to which the number belongs by entering the corresponding number. After selection, a confirmation page will be displayed showing mobile number and the amount. Enter your four digit PIN to confirm. If successful, the following message will be displayed: You have successfully purchased airtime of “amount” for “mobile number”
During account opening, the customer is to dial *966*0#. “You will be asked for your first and last name, create four digit PIN, confirm PIN. If successful, you will get a message thanking you for choosing Zenith bank. An SMS will be sent immediately with your new account number,” it added.
Mobile banking dynamics
Zenith Bank Plc launched the *966# Eazybanking solution, into the Nigerian market to enable it complement the CBN’s effort to build a cashless economy and enhance financial inclusion.
The USSD banking solution enables people to perform financial transactions on all known mobile phones (Feature, Smartlite or Smart), without having to go on the net or download a mobile app.
The lender said the simple solution allows mobile phone users buy airtime, transfer money, pay bills, check their account balance and even open a Zenith Bank account, anytime and anywhere.
It positions the bank for future growth as internet penetration continues to deepen in Africa and the use of mobile phones becomes the new and preferred banking channel.
The USSD banking solution will complement the Zenith Mobile Banking application, already well accepted among its discerning customers. “Customers register by dialing *966# from their registered mobile numbers and following a simple set-up as prompted by a string of instructions after which they can easily carry out banking activities anytime, anywhere, from the comfort of their mobile phones,” it said.
To open a Zenith Bank account, potential customers are required to dial *966*0# and follow the prompts, following which an account number is automatically generated for the customer and they can start running the account after a short visit to any of the bank’s branches.
The introduction of this banking solution will further enhance the lender’s reputation and excite its stakeholders. The commitment that Zenith Banking brings to electronic payment has earned it several awards from the stakeholders who continue to see the lender as a leader in the e-payment space.
Zenith Bank Plc, established in May 1990, is today recognised as one of the most innovative financial institutions in the country.
Speaking at the maiden edition of the Electronic Payment Financial Incentives Scheme (EFIS) Efficiency Award, the CBN Deputy Governor, Operations, Suleiman Barau, said mobile money is where the future of banking lies. He praised the performance of Zenith Bank Plc at the award, adding that the lender has done exceptionally well in the e-payment space. Zenith Bank won in the Cashless Bulk Payment Award and Point of Sale (PoS) Transaction Acquirer categories among others.