Barclays Should Up Their Digital Game

TECHNOLOGICAL advances obtaining across the globe have transformed millions of lives in a way unimaginable owing to the convenience and simplicity they offer.

The banking sector in Zimbabwe has also jumped into the tech innovation wagon as evidenced by the numerous banking solution technologies being developed by most banks’ IT departments.

However, despite the rest of the banking sector having made strides in developing and enhancing their digital products, it appears one Barclays Bank Zimbabwe is still stuck at some stagnant phase in the digital game.

Barclays bank needs to move towards financial inclusion which benifits local population to acces basic, daily services which is Zimbabweans use, and drop the ball on their epic wars with Ecocash and local payment gateways which is only coming =at the expense of their customers.

Even though Barclays has introduced a number of products like the Barclays Mobile Banking platform, the Barclays Internet Banking platform among others, still remains one of the few banks which have not fully embraced digitization full scale.

First and foremost, let’s look at its Hello Money Mobile Banking service which made loud and screaming headlines everywhere during its launch.

In order to enjoy the benefits of this product you don’t necessarily have to be a Barclays account holder, but a registered user, making Hello Money a transformative product that seeks to grow Barclays’ share of mobile money services.

Owing to the mounting cash woes, Mobile money transfers have become a better alternative and Zimbabweans are moving thousands of dollars through money transfers every day.

It is by no doubt that Ecocash is the biggest Mobile Money banking system in Zimbabwe. In the past four years to 2015, Ecocash said it had moved not less than $11 billion through its platform and the figures might have reached even humongous levels as we speak.

Barclays’s failure to integrate its Mobile banking system with Ecocash makes money transfer a living hell for Barclays customers considering that almost every Zimbabwean is a registered Ecocash user and at some point, would require an Ecocash transfer.

Other banks including Agribank, CBZ Bank, Steward Bank,  NMB Bank, Stanbic Bank, Allied Bank and ZB Bank have adopted Ecocash. The big questions now are Why Barclays is not embracing Ecocash, Why launch a new product almost similar to Ecocash, Why not ride on an already established platform? Only Barclays Knows the answer to that I presume.

After dialing *229# and entering your password, Barclays takes you to the Options panel where Funds Transfer will appear as option number 5.

It is after choosing number 5 that hell knocks on one’s door if you are trying to send money to someone without a Barclays account. Option 1 is only available to Barclays account holders, option 2 is available to Barclays to Barclays transactions, OPTION 3, well that’s a killer, it tells you point blank that you do not have another Barclays account meaning you can’t transact outside the confines of Barclays.

Moving from Hello Money, let’s move to Barclays Bank ZESA Prepaid Tokens purchase nightmare over its Mobile banking service. Well, before we go any further, that service is not even there, only the post-paid service is available and no token purchase can be made over one’s mobile phone.

Considering the prevailing cash shortages, it is critical that Barclays integrates the ZESA Prepaid tokens purchase on its mobile banking platform. Other banks have done it, why not follow suit.  The world has changed and depositors and need convenience.

Such simple changes does not need a whole new shareholder to only learn and understand that in this cash crisis, the only way out is integrating with mobile payment gateways.

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