Anniversary: ALAT’s Four Years, the Revamp, the Savings Goal Feature – By Omotayo Yusuf
2017 was ALAT’s year of entry into Nigeria’s financial market, as the first fully digital bank in the country. It walked into the Nigerian banking system with so much pomp and pageantry and many customers could gladly walk out of banking halls in order to go home and perform all financial activities from the comfort of their couch and mobile phones.
It’s been four years, and this week the app is celebrating its anniversary with giveaways, quizzes, and games across its social media platforms. What have been the highlights of the app?
The birth of course:
Since its launch on May 2, 2017, WEMA ALAT has continued to take giant strides with innovative features that address the immediate and long-term needs of Nigerians. It is no surprise that it took just a year for 250,000 Nigerians to get on board the country’s first fully functioning digital banking system. Many have marvelled at the paperless and seamless process of being a member of the ALAT family.
- The revamp of 2020:
In 2020, due to an increase in the number of Nigerians using the service as a result of the pandemic, there was a significant move to revamp the website and upgrade the app to make it easier and faster for customers to navigate its feature and get their banking, saving or other activities done quicker. And it got rave positive commendations. Its simple interface has made the user experience better.
- The Savings Goal Feature:
The app’s saving feature provides different options to make saving cool. You can choose an automated savings method and ALAT would do the rest on a periodic basis. Not only that, you earn a 10% annual interest which at the moment is three times the standard bank rate! And to top it all off, friends can join in and also do a saving challenge to ‘ginga’ each other towards a goal.
And Nigerians have an opinion on this feature:
Chidera, a 24-year-old customer service executive living in Lagos shared how the savings features have helped her in the past year: “I make about 1.8 or 1.9 million per annum and to manage I use this savings plan on ALAT. It’s called a ‘groups saving’ plan and I also use the fixed savings sometimes. There’s one other plan I can’t really remember the name right now that helps you lock your funds until you are ready to make use of it. Those savings plans, especially the one for fixed goals or something like that helps me a lot, even with annoying recurrent costs like NEPA bills.”
“I make only about N2.3 million per year and manage by budgeting and tracking my expenses. I used to save on ALAT goals but stopped when the interest rate dropped. For a while, it served me and my plans well, but the interest rate would have covered stuff as little as an internet subscription. Now I just have to pay out of pocket every month,” Olabode, a 26-year-old real estate analyst explained.
- The shiny awards:
You know that moment when every award winner says, “it was great just to be nominated,” we all sigh because the faux humility ko necestri.
However, when you think about it deeply, being nominated for some of these prestigious awards can be an honour in itself. And ALAT has had a bucketload of nominations in the past four years, and has gone on to clinch many of them!
In 2018, the app won the ‘Best Digital Bank in Africa’ Award at the Asian Banker Award; two awards – Best Digital Bank (Nigeria) award and Best Mobile App (Nigeria) award at the prestigious World Finance Awards.
Earlier this year, leading audit firm, KPMG, recognized ALAT as the best digital banking channel in Nigeria.
And all these have happened over just four years. What’s going to happen in the next four? We hear that some things are brewing even for this year. What could they be? Can someone just tell us already?
Omotayo Yusuf is a writer living in Lagos