[Part 1] Initial insights from test driving CBA’s Loop

Just the other day CBA, with a lot of fanfare, launched a new digital banking service for millennials (also referred to as Generation Y) called Loop. Millennials are defined as those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. The launch was preceded by an aggressive marketing campaign on Twitter through the hashtag #unbankyourself that ran for two weeks before the launch.

Loop’s proposition is that millennials and other tech savvy customers find the current banking options quite unattractive. Loop will allow customers to take advantage of technology to do all their banking. With Loop you can open an account without having to visit the branch. Additionally, it comes with several add-ons such as a Personal Financial Management tool, the ability to pay bills, an investment tool, and a savings tool just to name a few.

Did they achieve all that? In a two-part series, I will attempt to answer this question. On this post, I will focus on the on-boarding process and share some app related stats. On the second post, I will actively use the app and report on my experience.

The stats

Based on how well executed the prelaunch and the launch was, my first job was to check how this affected their download stats. Currently, the campaign’s Twitter handle @UnbankYourself has 2,726 followers and is quite engaged answering questions from different people. On Facebook there isn’t a separate brand for the property and little was done to market Loop there. This is quite strange considering the number of millennials on Facebook.

So far Loop falls in the miserly 100–500 download range. It has a rating of 4.7 but as I pointed out in an earlier post, ratings in the Kenyan market tend to lie a lot. The number of downloads is quite low based on how aggresive the marketing campaign was. This is a clear warning that marketing has to be better nuanced to improve customer acquisition. I have seen many campaigns aimed at getting something to trend on Twitter as was the case with Loop but having very little impact on customer acquisition.

The registration process

On opening the app, you are presented with two colorful screens asking a couple of questions.

I don’t really know what this means but some guy in a fancy agency must have thought it is really inspiring

Seeing that I had no option but to proceed I clicked the button and was presented with another screen shared below.

Is it only for people with a side hustle?

I clicked on ‘Tell me more” and landed on the sign in / open account page.

Loop’s Landing page

I selected to open an account and was presented with the following screen.

Loop’s registration form

I quickly filled out the form as requested. The next step required me to confirm I owned the phone number provided. The process involved sending a text with a code that I had to key in. On Android it is fairly easy to pick this automatically through the app but Loop requires you to do it manually.

On confirming the phone number I was presented with another success screen.

I decided to check out the demos but it turned out to be a series of videos showing how you can complete certain activities on Loop. Since I couldn’t access the account yet, I decided to finish registering.

To complete the registration process, I had to create a password and select three recovery questions, provide details about where I live and indicate where I work.

I chose the “Can’t do without make up item?’ :-)

Three odd things stood out when I was providing the rest of the information. Personally, I don’t have a postal address and that also applies to many of my friends. It is an odd thing to ask for in this era as the adoption is quite low.

The second odd item was a design item the CBA team overlooked. As we all know real estate is a challenge when designing for mobile. You will notice in the screenshot above that the amount of space allowed for typing is quite small. This was aggravated by the decision to have the label to the left of the input box instead of having it a row above or below. Ultimately the approach taken looks better but makes for a bad user experience.

The third challenge I faced was input validation. It is good practice to inform the user in advance what he/she is expected to provide as input. Items such as character limits should be indicated before the user submits input. Loop took a different approach.

The places I provided information in the wrong format were highlighted in red after I submitted the form. Additionally, the character limits are unrealistic. I am sure many people can’t clearly indicate where they live or their postal address in 100 characters only. I had to omit critical information in order to clear the errors shown above.

On successful completion, I was presented with the following screen.

This is when I realized I needed a card to get started and so I ordered one.

CBD happened to be the closest Loop store to me so I selected it

On confirming my preferred card collection center I got a text with a card confirmation number but no details about the collection center. It seems I can still collect the card at any Loop store. It also indicated that I needed to carry my ID and KES 500 to activate the card. I later got another text providing information on how I could top up my card using Lipa na Mpesa.

At this point, I could finally access my Loop account. However, it seemed I was using a slow internet connection as the page won’t load.

I did the test while connected to Zuku WiFi and so this was a surprise. I know Zuku has it’s challenges but it isn’t this bad. Surprisingly it worked the next day so I don’t know if it is a bug or not. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do more before collecting my card. This requires a trip to Nairobi CBD and so I decided to do it later. In the meantime, I looked around.

It looks like I can accomplish quite a lot using the app! However, to do that I first need to get that card.


This is the end of the first part of the review. As soon as I pick the card I will do the second part. That will be more fun than this. Loop’s on-boarding process isn’t impressive at all, though. They couldn’t have invested more time getting this right as first impressions really stick.


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