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Deepening Financial Inclusion With Access Bank’s Mobile Banking Service   
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Access Bank MD, Dolapo Ogundimu
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Larry Boafo is a businessman who sells goods at Kantamanto in Accra Central for a living. He has three stores and 10 employees who he pays on a monthly basis. He is a married man with three kids, who are in schools in Accra.

Ten years ago, when Larry Boafo needed to make payment for his goods that have arrived at the Tema Port, he had to wake up at 7am, dress up neatly and pick up his bag containing his cheque book.

He then informs everyone in his household and his shop that he is going to the bank to make payments and withdrawals. It is an accepted norm that the next time Larry Boafo is seen could be 5pm.

The same routine applies when he wants to pay his workers or the fees of his children.

For many decades in Ghana, banking was stressful on clients who needed to make deposits or withdrawals. They had to queue up for hours making it a waste of time and resources, not to talk of security concerns when carrying large sums of money to the bank.

But today, Larry Boafo does not have to spend all day in a bank to either withdraw money to pay for his goods that just arrived, pay his workers and the fees for his children’s education.

Products and services such as Access Bank’s *901# makes it possible for clients like Larry Boafo to sit in the comfort of their home, office or even in a pub, where he is having a good time with his friends, and make all of these payments and more. Larry Boafo can literally operate a mini-branch from his palm if he so wishes because this product allow that.

What is Access Bank’s *901# mobile banking service?

Let me take you a little down memory lane so you will enjoy this service better.

In December, 2016, Access Bank, the continent’s winner of ‘Best Bank Transformation’ in 2016 by the Euromoney Excellence Awards, re-launched its mobile banking platform to enable customers conduct banking transactions away from the banking hall.

Like other apps, the Access Mobile app needs to be downloaded on a smartphone device using IOS (Apple), Android or BlackBerry World operating system.

This amazing app though could not be used by other segments of the Bank’s customer base. A customer such as Larry Boafo who did not have a smart phone would have found it difficult in banking remotely from his phone.

In addressing this need and also ensuring that the Bank owns a mobile banking service that can be used by all and sundry, it introduced the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) mobile banking service *901# to its customers and the general public last month.

Now customers of Access Bank have the options to choose from two mobile banking services that makes life much easier and less stressful, as they are able to transact in real-time and at their convenience, any day and anytime.

Just dial the short code *901# even on your ‘yam’ phone

The *901# mobile banking service, which works on any kind of phone, either smartphones or ‘yams’ is modelled with banking features that enables customers to operate a mini branch on their handheld devices, thus making banking more convenient, easy and accessible.

By dialling the short code *901#, customers can register for the service to transfer money, buy airtime, check account balances, pay bills, transfer funds between their accounts and to third party banks, as well as conduct mobile money transfers. Other functions include making enquiries for branch and ATM locations and making transfers onto your mobile money wallets.

This simply means customers like Larry Boafo no longer have to visit the branch even for a second. As a businessman, he can just dial *901# on his phone and he is in his virtual branch. He can now move money conveniently from his mobile money wallet to his bank account and vice versa.

The Bank’s Managing Director, Mr. Dolapo Ogundimu says: “Digital banking is gradually changing the behavioural patterns of the ordinary consumer and the increase we see in the use of technology is an opportunity for our Bank to drive its financial inclusion agenda.  

With the roll out of our *901# mobile banking service and other digital banking products, Access Bank is positioning itself to meet customers’ demand for online and mobile interaction by putting digital distribution at the heart of its personal and business-banking proposition,” he adds.

Why is Access leading the charge to financially include everyone?

Access Bank believes that no one must be left behind in the drive to technologically bank everyone. This is because despite the seeming ubiquity of these platforms, which have now led to a reduction in the visit by bank customers to branches, Ghana’s financial sector is still deprived of all citizens financially included.

According to the 2014 Financial Inclusion Data/Global Findex Database, in Ghana only 34.61percent of adults have bank accounts whiles the GDP per capita income stands at US$4,129. But peers like Nigeria, Botswana, Algeria, Kenya,  Namibia and South Africa have 44.17, 49.24, 50.47, 55.20, 58.06 and 68.76percent of adults having bank accounts respectively whiles the GDP per capita of these countries currently stand at US$6,031, US$16,036, US$14,259, US$3,084, US$10,765 and US$13,046 respectively.

More data shows that mobile devices, currently in the hands of billions across the globe, are changing the world and how customers view banking and banks are responding to the demands of customers.

According to Biztech Africa, an online technology portal, advanced mobile technology will be commonplace around the globe by the year 2020 with smartphone subscribers reaching 6.1 billion. The report further suggests that 70 percent of the world’s population will be using smartphones.

Today’s mobile phone devices have made life so simple for bank customers and, for that matter, banks are forced to offer more simple ways of doing business to these ever-growing customers.

These are just the hard facts that backs why Access Bank is becoming known as the lead innovator when it comes to technologically-backed banking products and services. Dialling *901# on your phone is just a window into the fantastic world of seamless banking on the go wherever you are anytime.

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