Yes you read that right. The country’s first truly app-only bank is set to launch soon and I cannot contain my excitement; y’all know my reasons aren’t far-fetched.
I’ve always described Nigerian banks as “house of hassles”. From opening a bank account, to depositing and transferring funds, withdrawing same funds, or picking up something as small as an ATM card, it’s hassles all the way.
This has prompted calls for smart innovators/entrepreneurs to come with up products that’ll ease the stress consumers go through all in the name of banking. As a result, a couple of dope fintech startups have been launched, however none, or maybe one, has come close to really wrestling with the big players.
This is why I’m excited about ALAT, the app-only bank that’s launching soon. When I said “first truly” up there, I meant it big time. With ALAT, the rate at which you visit your physical bank will drop insanely to the barest minimum, if not totally.
Think I’m kidding you? OK wait. Let me ask you this first. What do you usually do at your bank? I can hear you saying “open an account”, “deposit/send money”, “lay complaints to customer service reps”, “withdraw funds”, “apply for a loan,” et al.
Now, here’s the good news. Asides withdrawing/depositing physical cash and applying for a loan, which most banks don’t even give except you’re a member of a club known as creme de la creme, ALAT has got you covered on all the others, and even more.
You can open a bank account, request for a cool debit card and get it for free in 2 business days irregardless of your location in the country, deposit funds into the new account via several methods, and transfer funds to whoever you want. You can do this all within ALAT; without dropping your smart phone.
ALAT doesn’t stop there. The app-only bank does a Piggybank by allowing consumers save money towards a goal/target, which will be particularly useful to consumers who find it difficult to save; I can see so many hands up already. ALAT also offers a lot of other services such as airtime purchase, bill payments and so on.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about ALAT is the people behind it. It’s Wema Bank. Yes, the same Wema Bank we all call “old generation” together with Union Bank, which recently announced a fintech challenge. Now, this is not to take anything away from the bank but I least expected them to be the ones behind such incredible and epoch-making product. Indeed, innovation comes from the most unlikeliest of places!
But really, I always had a feeling it was going to be a bank that’ll bell the cat. Reason being that startups will face a gang load of regulatory bottlenecks which they might not ‘break’ unless they find a suitable partner. The banks don’t have this problem however – that’s why they’re operating as a bank in the first place.
I’ve come to the end of my rant. When exactly ALAT will launch hasn’t been disclosed, however the app is live already and you can use it. Just download the app here if you’re an Android user or here if you’re an Apple Fanboy. Endeavour to read the FAQs; I sure must have missed out one or two things which you’ll definitely find there.
Lest I forget, accounts opened with ALAT are savings (more account types will be added at a later time) and you will be required to upload some documents for verification, and other, purposes; kinda like what you will do at a physical bank. But don’t fret. On ALAT, you’ll do all this from the comfort of your smartphone.