9 October 2018

Sierra Leone: UBA Introduces Social Media Banking

United Bank for Africa customers can now access their UBA accounts via Facebook Messenger and make cash transfers, check financial statement, purchase airtime, free of charge.

Last Friday, the bank's Managing Director Chenedu Obita launched Leo - a virtual banker - the second one-in-town product the bank introduced in the country last week.

"Leo is a virtual banker who interacts with customers like a teller would do at the bank," Chenedu Abita said. "With Leo customers would not have to come to the bank for everything. If you have internet, you can access your account everywhere in the world."

So far, he said, the product is for UBA to UBA transaction only. He said transaction would be extended to other banks soon but that would come with a cost.

David Musa, UBA's head of product, said "you just have to login to Facebook Messenger and search 'UBA Chatbanking' to get Leo."

"When you click on Leo it gives you various service options, including open accounts cash transfer, check financial statement, locate Automated Teller Machines (ATM), get sports and weather update, complain or make observations etc.," he said.

He said non/prospective UBA customers could also use the Open Account option to open an account for themselves and verify with the bank later.

He acknowledged that Facebook has been a target for hackers recently but assured there was utmost safety for Leo users.

"For every attempt to transact, Leo sends an eight digit One Time Password to the mobile number registered with the target account in order to authenticate the current user," he said.

"for every time you want to input a sensitive information like your account number, Leo opens a new window that takes you off Facebook and connect you directly with the bank," he said. With that no sensitive information would be shared on Facebook."

He said a customer may call +232-78-200200 if he/she feels there is a need to freeze his/her account.

"The minimum cash transaction is Le5, 000 and the maximum is Le25, 000,000 with no charge," he said. "For the airtime transfer it is only Africell for now and orange would join soon."

Mr Obita said very soon the product would facilitate paying electricity, supermarket and other bills. He said Leo would be extended to Whatsapp and other social media platforms soon.

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