The Ecobank Group and Semoa, a fintech based in Lomé, have launched a new digital banking service via WhatsApp called Express cash by Semoa, which enables mobile money users in Togo to carry out banking activities swiftly across the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU)
The Ecobank Group, whose network covers 35 countries across Africa, is the first bank to integrate this type of service at its ATMs and Express Point Agency locations. Customers send a WhatsApp message to Semoa’s BOT called Dédé, to request for tokens for withdrawals, payment of bills or money transfer to friends and relatives in Togo and across the WAEMU region. The WhatsApp service is available 24/7.
Semoa’s development of the API, the application programming interface which allows apps to talk to each other, has created the next generation digital customer experience, positioning Ecobank Group as a pioneer of innovation in Open Banking in Africa. This technology provides a bridge between the digital and cash economy, and allows unbanked merchants and traders to accept and make payments digitally.
Edem Adjamagbo, CEO and founder of SEMOA, said, “Xpress Cash by SEMOA- whereby Ecobank enables its cutting-edge infrastructure with SEMOA's secured online services, is the perfect example of a true partnership in financial innovation with the potential to change the lives of many in West Africa. Indeed, the fact that people with no bank accounts, or credit cards, can now cash out their mobile money directly out of Ecobank ATMs and Xpress Points throughout the WAEMU region is a game changer that will help foster financial inclusion."
Djiba Diallo, Ecobank Group’s senior fintech adviser, said, “As digital banking becomes increasingly important, the Ecobank Group is joining the growing number of banks, card companies and payment service providers around the world, using developers like Semoa, one of the most prominent fintechs in Africa, to enhance customer experience. Made more accessible by Open Banking, which provides secure access to the Bank’s data, fintechs develop systems which issue commands via APIs to third parties, creating a seamless service for customers to perform their transactions and track their finances in one place."
The success of the new wallet service has been made possible by Semoa’s ability to test connectivity, authentication and authorisation of customers’ transactions, before the new service went live through Ecobank’s Sandbox. Furthermore, the income generated by the service is being split equally between the Ecobank and Semoa, creating great business opportunities for other fintechs. As a result, the Ecobank Group is encouraging other financial technology companies to access its Sandbox API to develop more innovative and smarter services.