Banks Can Be Frustrating! This Is How I Am Reducing How Much I Use Them

Photo by Sean Pollock on Unsplash

Guys, I am tired of Nigerian banks.

Through the greater part of this year, I did my transfers via one of my banking apps. This bank app really stressed me! Whenever they had a network issue which was 80% of the time, they will deduct my money without making the transfer. Then refund me the next day. If it is a weekend or holiday, I might not even get refunded till 24 hours after business resumes.

I didn’t want to switch to another bank because I have had my fair share of problems with other banks as well. Unfortunately for my slow ass, I endured this unnecessary hardship till December when I declared I had enough.

Inspiration

I have heard of kudi.ai for a long time, and I even remember helping one of the co-founders test it out when they were pilot testing the product. I am however, not a big fan of chatbots so even though while I was a big fan of what the guys at Kudi were doing, I never tried to make use of it to satisfy a need. Boy, was I missing!

I decided to give Kudi a real try — not just one asked of me. I already had the bot installed on my Telegram app so I went there and simple typed Transfer. The bot then asked me which account number I wanted to Transfer to. Now, this is where I got really impressed — when I typed in the account combination, the bot asked me the name of the bank I am transferring to, but only brought out a list of few banks with that pattern of account numbers.

Let me explain in detail. If for example, I put in an account number that starts with 200, Kudi will only bring up Zenith Bank, Heritage and any other bank which has account numbers that start with 200. This saves the user the stress of scrolling through every bank even though their pattern of account numbers only start from 0 or 1 or some other pattern. I am a big fan of User Experience and attention to detail so I was really impressed. I went in to fill in card details, PIN, etc and completed the payment with little fuss.

Whenever I use my bank’s app, it makes it so much stressful to save the account number of the person who I transferred to. It even asks for a PIN before it does a simple save. As for Kudi, when I completed my transaction, it prompted me asking if I wanted to save this beneficiary. On choosing ‘Yes’, you will be asked to select a name for the beneficiary and it will be saved.

The next time I opened the Kudi bot, I decided to be more adventurous. Instead of typing Transfer, I typed Send 20000 to <account number>. Like I said earlier, I am not a big fan of bots. This is mostly because they are unintuitive and you have to use very specific phrases for current day bots to understand, so I wasn’t expecting this command to work. To my shock, the bot simply asked which bank was the account number associated with as usual, bringing up a smart list of banks. Another shocker was when I confirmed the bank, instead of asking me to input my card details like a particular money transfer service (*coughs*) does, it simply asked me if I wanted to send from my First Bank MasterCard (the card I used previously) or from a different card 😱. Of course, all these transactions are protected by a Kudi PIN so there is some security.

While all these functions seem basic, I was so impressed with the level of thinking that has gone into the product to make it comfortable for users to use. I don’t get this sense of feeling using bank products. My bank’s app hasn’t even been updated in over the one and a half year since I started using it. I have reported the bug for over a year and there has been no sense of urgency or anything to show this might be resolved.

This new experience with Kudi got me thinking that I deserve better. We all do. The problem is not that the banks don’t care, it is just the way they operate but the new breed of companies are invested in building the right product for customers and probably that’s what I should be on the lookout for.

As such, I started looking at the other finance products I use and how I can maximise my use of them in the coming year to minimise my use of banks.

Alternatives I Have Been Using

CowryWise

One of my favourite services of 2017 due to attention to detail as well. CowryWise design is top notch and using this service just makes me want to save.

Instead of keeping my money in my bank savings account, I find it is more advantageous to keep my savings on CowryWise. The customer support is more responsive than any bank, and interest rates are as high as 15% p.a compared to a commercial bank’s 7% p.a.

Piggybank

I don’t know if fixed deposit accounts are still a thing, but if they are you should totally replace yours with Piggybank. Piggybank while being able to do things CowryWise does, sets a 5% charge if you make a withdrawal before the duration you specified that you wanted to save for.

Also, Piggybank released a feature called Piggylink which allows anyone at all to send money directly to your Piggybank account. How dope is that!

This way, you can have your money safely tucked away behind that blue padlock.

Bitkoin Africa

While the cryptocurrency craze might be a bubble, it won’t be a bubble forever. The value of bitcoin will eventually steady and it will most likely be the most popular form of exchange in the future. This is why I decided to put a little money in bitcoin.

I had about a few thousands in my bank account early this month, and I was like why don’t I buy some coins instead? It might even be appreciate the next day, allowing me to make a killing — it depreciated the next day (tears!).

Point is, this few BTC will come in handy soon and I am glad I have another way to keep my money out of the bank.

Conclusion

While Nigerian banks are not entirely bad and I daresay they have consistently innovated over time, I think for my sanity and peace of mind, avoiding them as much as possible is necessary.

Do you have any services or hacks you use when it comes to financial services? If you do, please share. I need more ways to circumvent them.