KAMPALA — In the wake of the novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) situation, some financial institutions have waived charges on selected transactions performed using digital channels to allow customers to access services cheaply, in the comfort of their homes or neighborhoods amidst the precautionary measures put in place by the Government to prevent the further spread of the virus in the country.
Commercial banks and telecom companies in the chain of offering financial services are encouraging their customers to use digital platforms to transact anywhere, anytime thereby avoiding crowds and reducing the risk involved with handling cash.
Centenary Bank waived off charges for account to mobile wallet transfers for any amount using its CenteMobile banking platform, while customers can also withdraw up to UGX 50,000 at CenteAgent locations and using ATMs countrywide at no charge.
The bank’s digital banking platforms offer a wide range of service options designed to suit different customer needs during such challenging times where there is limited movement.
In the first 3 days after activation of the waiver on charges up to UGX 50,000 limit per day for withdraws at CenteAgent locations, there was an 18% growth in the number of withdraw transactions and 15% growth in total value transacted within the tier, the Bank has announced.
62% of the growth in number of transactions was for transactions between UGX. 5,000 to UGX 20,000 according to the bank’s Agent Banking Manager, Mr. Michael Nuwagaba.
The CenteMobile banking platform allows customer to pay bills such as water and electricity, transfer funds from account to mobile wallet for free during this period, subscribe for DStv, GOtv, Startimes and pay for goods at selected merchant locations using the MasterPass option.
The bank has also increased its CenteMobile loan limit and repayment period from UGX 2 million to UGX 5 million for a period of 1 to 3 months, respectively to enable customer’s access funds quickly with no hassle.
The loan does not require any paper work and is designed to help customers cater for emergencies like paying medical bills, school fees and now customers can borrow money to stock food during this period of staying home. Funds are instantly disbursed to the customer’s bank account.
With over 4,500 CenteAgents spread across the country, Centenary bank has the largest Agent banking network in the country offering various services including bill payments, account opening, deposit taking, and processing withdrawals at no charge for amounts of up to UGX 50,000 per day for 30 days.
Customers also have the option of withdrawing money from a network of more than 180 ATMs using their CenteVisa debit cards at zero charge for amounts of up to UGX 50,000 per day for 30 days. The card can be used to pay for goods and services at supermarkets and online, which reduces the risk involved with handling cash during this Corona Virus period.
One can buy fuel at petrol stations, pay for drugs at pharmacies and order for food online, among other options while using the CenteVisa card. With CenteOnline banking, customers in the categories of SME, Corporate and High Net Worth can transfer money, pay bills, check balances on their accounts anytime, anywhere.
Important to note is that customers can self-register for CenteMobile and CenteAgent banking services without the need to visit a branch for support. If one forgets their CenteMobile PIN, it is also possible to reset the PIN using the USSD code or the App.
Customers can check the bank’s social media pages, website or YouTube channel for details on how to self-register and reset PINs.
According to Centenary Bank’s General Manager Corporate Communications and Marketing, Beatrice Lugalambi, the waiver of charges on account to wallet transfers for all amounts using CenteMobile and zero charges for withdraws of up to UGX 50,000 at CenteAgent locations and ATMs countrywide, applies for a period of 30 days effective 23rd March 2020 in line with the presidential ban of public gatherings and suspension of public transport.
“This decision comes as a way of ensuring our customers stay safe and can still access banking services conveniently through our digital channels which support cashless transactions and reduce the risk associated with having traffic in the banking halls. This will help minimize chances of contracting and spreading COVID-19,” remarked Lugalambi.
She further explained that, “Our bank has taken additional measures to ensure the safety of our customers during this period, these include availing sanitizers, water and soap at entry point of our premises and providing protective gear to staff as they continue to serve our esteemed customers.”
Lugalambi added that the bank continues sharing safety tips from Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization with customers and staff through various channels including email, posters and screens in the banking halls as well as its social media pages.