FirstMobile: A symbol of banking convenience with global attraction

The launch of FirstMobile App by First Bank of Nigeria Limited provides an opportunity for its customers to conveniently access both financial and non financial transactions. AMAKA IFEAKANDU writes on the recognition this initiative and many others have attracted to the FBN globally.

Over the years, the development in digital financial technologies across the world, like e-money, digital banking and crowd funding platform has tremendously changed accessibility of financial services.

With the advent of technology in the nation’s financial landscape, financial institutions have become more innovative in their service delivery to their customers. 

Innovation in banking industry

The new innovation has, to some extent, placed the entire banking industry on the fast lane to brainstorm daily and think towards installation of  efficient electronic devices that will meet the demand and expectations  of customers in terms of service delivery.

The transformation in the industry which comes with speed and convenience, has become the order of the day as all Nigerian banks have keyed into different electronic banking applications to make transaction faster, easier and more customer friendly.

First Bank digitalisation process

And First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s most valuable banking brand, is not left out in this digitalisation process. With over 127 years of experience to behold, the brand has remained committed to offering value-added services that suit the customers’ lifestyle. 

This decision birthed FirstMobile App in 2015 to provide convenient access to both financial and non financial transactions for First Bank account holders through their mobile devices. 

Interestingly, the unveiling of the products was another step towards leveraging evolving technologies to bring fast and convenient financial services closer to Nigerians in line with the bank’s digital banking strategy.

The bank, in its effort to make cutting-edge banking services available to its customers, has continuously revamped its mobile banking application – FirstMobile – to boost convenience and ease of banking as well as enhance customers’ digital banking experience.

Acceptance of the Application

In less than 15 months after launching of the product,  FirstMobile App recorded a milestone in its user number December 2016 with the attainment of one million active users, while over N1.3trillion transaction volume was consummated. 

The product became more popular on daily basis that more customers got attracted to the use of the application 

Available data showed that as at  June 2021, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, boasts of  4,596,203 users on the FirstMobile App which is a 9 per cent growth of the total users in the previous year and an average of 27,730,830 transactions every month. 

With such increase in patronage from its over 30 million customer base, the need to always create an easy way for customers to conduct financial transactions comes into play,  leading to creation of a  dedicated platform that allows FirstBank customers to conveniently make transactions with their mobile phones, tablets and PC.

Beating cyber attack

Obviously, one of the things that give bank customers sleepless night whenever it comes to electronic banking transactions is the problem of security. But 

the FirstBank customers has nothing to worry about as FirstMobile App comes with a user-defined transaction pin which is an extra security feature. 

Customers can also perform the following actions on the enhanced app: Change Transaction PIN, Reset Transaction PIN, Synchronize token, and change their log in pin – mPIN.

Also, FirstMobile is embedded with a card protection service for customers to enable and disable cards on channels, account switch off as well as second-factor authentication and device registration. Customers can remotely initiate the request for a new debit card as well as the replacement of a lost or damaged one, while managing activities on their card and account.

FirstMobile takes into cognizance the security of customers and their funds. 

The biometric for transactions is an innovative security upgrade on the application

to validate transactions. This feature includes fingerprint for transactions, allowing the customer to use his or her fingerprint to consummate all transactions. 

Other features of the FirstMobile App include frequent transactions; dashboard flexibility and personalisation.

Added security features and easy transactions

In 2017, First Bank  added new features on its mobile banking application – FirstMobile-to enhance security and protect customers from any form of cyber attack on their accounts

 The new features are The Card-in-Control functionality, the Quick Response (QR) Code, the Transaction receipt and Save beneficiary functions.

The Card-in-Control functionality on the FirstMobile App empowers customers to be in control of their accounts and prevent unauthorized usage of cards. The Card –in–Control Service allows customers to determine channels (ATM, POS and Online) and countries, where their cards can be used. Customers are to go to the Card Management Service, under the ‘self- service’ menu on FirstMobile to disable or enable any of the features.

The Quick Response (QR) payment solution on FirstMobile App allows customers to pay for goods and services by using their phone cameras to scan QR codes at merchant locations or uploading a QR code on a smart phone via the FirstMobile App. Payment goes straight from the customer’s FirstBank account into the merchant’s account and provides real-time notification to both parties. 

The transaction receipt feature enables customers generate receipt after a transaction on the FirstMobile App. This feature overrides any concerns around the confirmation of transactions as receipts can either be saved to the mobile phone gallery for future reference or shared directly with recipients of each transaction via email, WhatsApp,

Another thing rooted into the FirstMobile App is the ‘Save Beneficiary’ feature, where customers can save beneficiary details for later transactions. This eliminates the arduous task of searching and importing beneficiaries’ details for every transaction. 

Other features on the FirstMobile App include the domestic funds transfers; airtime purchase for self and others on all mobile networks; bill payments; cheque services; flight booking; and quick account services such as account balance inquiry, statement view and much more.

The mobile banking app which is secure and easy to use, enables users to carry out banking transactions on the go from their mobile phones anywhere you are located 

With increased innovation in today’s e- banking , FirstMobile app is available for download on Google Play store, Blackberry World and Apple store among others.

Global recognition/awards

The FirstMobile App, has in the last six years of existence, has been recognised and the bank bagging several awards from  international organisations on the strength of this.

FirstBank’s digital innovations were rewarded with awards in 2016 which include the Asian Banker award for Best Mobile Payments and the Global Finance Digital Bank of Distinction award.

In 2019, Global Business outlook awarded First Mobile with the  2019 best  mobile banking App.

First Bank mobile banking application, FirstMobile,  awarded the 2020 Best Mobile Banking App award in the Global Finance Best Digital Bank Awards 2020.

The bank recently received awards from two international organisations. The awards include the 2021″ Retail Banking CEO of the year Nigeria, Most innovative Retail Banking App Nigeria and Best CSR Bank Nigeria awards.

The Global Banking and Finance Award reflects the innovations achievement, strategy, progressive and inspirational changes taking place within the global financial community.

According to the organisers of the GBFA,  “the three awards  conferred on FirstBank are  in recognition of the indelible roles it plays in deepening financial inclusion in the country; advancing the digital banking eco-system as well as impacting individuals in its host communities with technology to make learning available to individuals of all ages, among many others.”

Also, in the month of May, First Bank  emerged as  the second ‘most admired financial services brand’ in Africa – for the second straight year – at the 2021 Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands Event. 

The award, according to the organisers, was in recognition of FirstBank’s leading digital banking services and innovative products like FirstMobile, USSD, Firstmonie Agent among others- all of  which  are essential to promoting cashless transactions in today’s digital age. “FirstBank’s digital savviness extends to the social media platforms where it has been ranked by Financial Brand as the number one on Instagram in Nigeria and second globally based on the highest number of fan base/followers and it’s clearly poised to reclaim number 1 position across all parameters,” they added.

Future  innovative strategy

But like a band truly in competition, the FBN is still not resting on its oars as it strives to remain atop others in the industry. This much was acknowledged by the bank’s CEO/MD,

Dr Adesola Adeduntan while addressing participants at the  just concluded Fintech  Summit.

“We will also continue to demonstrate our support for start-ups and innovators in the fintech space by providing them the relevant data support and infrastructure to enable them scale appropriately.

“Every step we take continues to be geared towards strategically positioning us as the bridgehead and reference point for fintech and financial services providers across the African continent, as we will continue to lead the charge towards realizing the future of banking,” he said.

Reiterating his boss’ position, Deputy Managing Director Gbenga Shobo said: “FirstBank will continue to play its role in fostering thought leadership and innovation for the betterment of humanity. Our 127-year old culture of encouraging innovation drives us to always seek out and develop the next best solution capable of enhancing customer experience and value optimization across the markets we operate. 

“We will continue to set the pace in the development of new trends that will define the future of banking and finance across the world. “