Moniepoint personal banking app says all we need to know about the future of fintech

Dennis Da-ala Mirilla
Moniepoint personal banking app says all we need to know about the future of fintech

Some months ago, Moniepoint one of the most funded startups in the country gathered all its engineers from all corners of the world, including outposts in Europe and other African countries under one roof.

Light years behind its peers, the engineers were supposed to come up with a new app for personal banking, to rival those already in the market and more familiar with the public, chief of them Kuda Bank.

I could tell you that the Moniepoint app does the basics, transfer and withdrawal of funds, sales of discounted recharge cards, purchase of utilities; Cable TV, Ikeja Electric etc.

But the undercurrent powering this new fintech landscape, I mean the companies that have come out of the months of slow funding seemingly unscathed and remain undoubtedly viable and valuable businesses, is more steeped than interface aesthetics rankings and transaction speed tests.

In the past few years, more heavily funded fintechs have risen in Lagos with a single goal of establishing themself as a preferred option for customers. Years ago, it was about setting up elastic cloud systems, getting licences and keeping the lights on. For this coterie of fintechs, it’s about the dominance of the sectors that they operate.

These companies, including the likes of Opay, Palmpay, Branch, and Moniepoint have invited more experienced hands as executives. They have remained true to what they are, which is a fintech – they have less physical infrastructure, a huge social media presence and agents across the country.

Moniepoint personal banking app says all we need to know about the future of fintech

But they are quick to remind anyone, as a Moniepoint executive once said to me, that they are “first and foremost a bank,” even as they retain the paraphernalia of the heady Yaba days; hybrid work system, team bonding, casual workwear every day etc.

Moniepoint has long played in this league, fighting tooth and nail as a primarily business-focused bank for every single customer it could get, ultimately leading to its dominance in the business banking sector with $12 billion in monthly transactions.

It will now replicate the same strategy with this its new Moniepoint personal banking app. Already Moniepoint charges N10 per transfer. It then gives customers at least 100 points for every transaction. It also said that it will be rolling out a salary advance feature soon.

Read also: Inside Moniepoint’s ambitious plan to dominate personal banking in Nigeria

While Moniepoint offers ATM cards for N1000 which will be delivered in a few days for an extra N1000, a longtime competitor is far ahead. Opay has its agent literarily hawking its ATM cards in markets, love gardens at universities, and strategic junctions for anyone who will take it. For a time in its early days, Kuda Bank dolled out its ATM cards for free and still runs some free transfers.

Moniepoint has on the other hand pursued a more traditional way of marketing its personal banking product, abandoning mostly the mouth-to-mouth strategy that led to its dominance in business banking.

It has splurged billions of naira as the headline sponsor of Big Brother Naija: All Stars, an obvious bet that will put it in front of many eyes around the clock.

Except the show continues to push out advertising for Moniepoint business banking product simultaneously, at a time when so many brands buy advertising slots on the show, it’s hard to keep up with who is the headline sponsor and who isn’t.

Moniepoint has also rolled out digital games offering points to customers per transaction, points which they use to play games like Spin the Wheel for a chance to win upwards of 3,000,000. It has set aside N200 million in cash prices for participants in the games. Some of those who won’t win millions still stand a chance to win N2000.

Can Moniepoint succeed as a powerful bank, the go-to choice for all Nigerians in the near future?

The answer to this question has become, to me, less bleak with these companies’ arrival on the scene, and even traditional banks are taking note. The successes of fintech products have hit them too. Habari Pay, the fintech arm of GTCO, posted profits of ₦1.3 billion in the first half of 2023.

This year, Wema Bank’s Chairman Babatunde Kasali, said that ALAT, its fintech “continues to be a key growth driver and success story for the Bank.”

There have been many conversations about the future of fintech, at a time when many startups have been springing up offering these services. The conversation has tilted many times to whether fintech will survive as the next financial institution or fiddle away as Nigerians run back to the traditional banks.

But that was before there were companies like Moniepoint and Opay who are not afraid to say they want all the customers, they want all Nigerians and have the runway to hold forth for a very long time.

Moniepoint personal banking app says all we need to know about the future of fintech

The Moniepoint personal banking app is less about the next phase for Moniepoint and more about the future of fintech as a business category. Perhaps that long-awaited time when the chickens will come home to roost has come. It’s time for the unserious players to move aside.

Now to that speed test. Because this is an app review I really have to tell you if the Moniepoint personal banking app is fast. It is, but you already knew that.

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