The zero-rate rate revolution has really picked up the pace over the last couple of weeks. We saw BancABC, Steward Bank and FBC announce that their banking platforms are now data-free. And now NMB Bank has followed suit with the announcement that the NMBConnect platform is now zero-rated.
“We believe access to data or airtime should not be a barrier to safe and convenient banking, which is why we are partnering with mobile phone networks for zero-rated access to our digital banking platforms”Ben Washaya NMB’s CEO
Much like all the other banks that have made this move NMBConnect will be zero-rated for Econet customers. However, NMB’s CEO said that they are in discussions with NetOne
“Econet is the first mobile phone network that we have concluded a zero rating agreement with. Work is underway to conclude a similar agreement with NetOne”
It stands to reason that all the other banks are in negotiations with other mobile network operators. Hopefully, we can see an announcement that NetOne and/or Telecel are offering zero-rate services soon.
So… which platforms have been zero-rated?
From the statement that NMB released it looks like a blanket zero-rating for all the platforms under the NMBConnet banner. These include the app, the website and the *241# USSD (which was already free). The added benefit of NMB making its platforms free to access is because over the last year or so, the bank has been upgrading its NMBConnect digital banking channel.
Customers can now do the “paperwork” for withdrawals and deposits over the app and simply go to the bank or send someone they trust to do the pickup or drop off. Added to that you can now open a full KYC (Know Your Customer) account via the app or a KYC Lite account via USSD. In the olden days (which are just last year by the way) you had to go to the branch in order to open an account. You had to bring in-tow, documents to complete the process. But with NMBConnect all you now need to do is just upload them from wherever you are.
Furthermore, if you have opened an NMB lite account via the USSD, you can upgrade to a full KYC Savings or Current account via the app.
“We believe that digital banking offers customers convenience, safety during this Covid-19 pandemic and the ability to manage their own bank account. With zero-rated connection to NMBConnect for Econet customers and hopefully for subscribers of other networks in the near future, we are removing one of the last barriers to accessing our digital bank”Ben Washaya NMB’s CEO