Centenary Bank launches WhatsApp banking in Uganda

January 30, 2024
2 min read
Centenary Bank
  • Centenary Bank, a Ugandan commercial bank, has introduced CenteWhatsApp banking, a platform that offers customers instant and secure access to diverse banking services via WhatsApp. 
  • Customers can now use CenteWhatsApp banking for several tasks, including checking account balances, transferring money, paying bills, receiving real-time notifications, and applying for a mobile loan up to UGX 5 million ($1,307.76). 
  • To use this service, users must save the bank's verified WhatsApp number, 0744 200 555, in their phone contacts. Then, they can start the process by sending a message. A menu will appear, allowing the customer to select their preferred option and follow the prompts to finish the transaction. 

A One Time PIN (OTP) sent to the customer's registered bank number to gain access to the CenteMobile banking service secures all transactions.

This move is an attempt to leverage the popularity of WhatsApp to provide banking services to a wider audience by allowing users to use the messaging app on their mobile devices to conduct transactions whenever and wherever they choose.

In Uganda, 7.48 million people are expected to be online by 2024, accounting for 14.99% of the total population. While the World Population Review reports that 4.5 million Ugandans use WhatsApp, 34% of the population had a bank account as of 2023.

Consequently, launching WhatsApp Banking, according to Managing Director Fabian Kasi, is an incredible opportunity to offer everyone easy, secure, and accessible banking solutions. 

Kasi observed that the widespread use of WhatsApp offers a recognisable and easy-to-use interface, enabling users to manage their finances via instant messaging. In the event of a complaint, this includes prompt responses and the choice to speak with a call centre representative. 

The managing director underscored the bank's obligation to welcome innovations in the face of a banking industry that is changing due to technology advancements and shifting consumer preferences. 

This initiative aligns with a Juniper research study forecasting that by 2026, 53% of the world’s population will access digital banking services, marking a significant increase from 2.5 billion users in 2021 to over 4.2 billion.

Centenary Bank says it has an asset base of UGX 5.5 trillion ($1,442,039,500). It serves over 2.4 million customers through 79 branches, 205 ATMs, over 7,000 agents, and several other digital channels such as CenteMobile banking, CenteOnline banking, CenteVisa debit and prepaid cards, and the Mastercard Platinum debit card. 

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