Banking has always been cumbersome. A tangled web of mystery and hidden fees where you had to fill different forms in triplicate and attach your ID to everything. Frankly, it has always been more of a necessity than a convenience. It is like all the banks sat down and decided, let us be hard to understand and even harder to move with the times. It is like no one ever sat the banks down and told them “Listen here buddy, all we want is convenience; that and not having to make long queue to do some mundane things like pay bills”
Over the last couple of years, many banks, in their quest to be digital, have launched one form of banking app or another. They have something in common though; they are cumbersome, don’t offer a lot and eventually, you will still have to queue at some point in your banking life. Accessing your money and using it is also sometimes quite a hassle. This is especially true for young people who have a lot of things going on in their lives and their foremost concern is being able to access their money on the go on their mobile phones or computers.
Clearly, banks have been particularly slow in understanding and meeting the needs of the millennial customer, and there is a clear disconnect between the two. This is an unfortunate scenario because businesses have been known to get down for failing to tune to the frequencies of the new age customer. Millennials want things now and they want things easy. Not just for the sake of it but because it is actually possible and that is where the world is headed anyway. Look at Uber for example where one can sit in the office or home, and get a cab within 5 minutes with just a few taps of their phones.
Enter CBA Loop
CBA (Commercial Bank of Africa) has launched Loop – a banking app that promises to address the concerns of the new age customer. Loop is aimed at the upwardly mobile 18-34 year old who values speed convenience in the modern fast paced life that is the norm in this century. You will remember that CBA is the bank that brought you M-Shwari in partnership with Safaricom in 2012.
At a glance, Loop offers more features than your average banking app, including one that I found to be of particular interest; the budgeting feature. This allows you to set up your monthly budget and track how much you spend on any given item, which I think is really cool. I would use this especially since I am one of those people who are prone to impulsively spend money then curl up into a ball crying hot tears of regret later.
Other features of note
CBA Loop allows you to get more unconventional and do a lot more with your banking app than normal banking apps do. The interface itself is vibrant enough, but the features are what stand out. With Loop, you can pay your utilities and bills, manage your spending and make a targeted savings plan that the app helps you track and adhere to. You can also link multiple cards and send money to and from other banks (goodbye queues). Your access to loans is also made a lot easier because with time and continued use on your end, Loop will be able to study your discipline and consistency with bills and money, and CBA can use those as collateral to extend loans. This will be a sharp departure from current requirements for loan application which include cash flow records and your position at the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) among other old age requirements.
Loop has this investment option, where you select the investment widget, set up an investment, select how much you would like to invest and choose a slider period of the time you would like to invest. You even have the option of liquidating your investment before the time scheduled has elapsed.
Loop is both a banking app and a personal financial manager. The investment widget and the budgeting feature are a nice touch. You can even check to see how much is safe to use which I found to be a nice touch. As far as apps made by banks go, Loop is a lot better than what is currently available. It certainly goes a long way to lessen the need for you to be on a long boring queue while you could be out there doing other things – like working and making money.
We’ll be back with a full review of Loop but in the meantime, read more about it on their website.