Tier 1 lender, First Bank of Nigeria Limited (a subsidiary of FBN Holdings) launched a WhatsApp banking channel, FirstBank Chat Banking for its customers who are on the messaging platform. The event took place at the FirstBank Digital Lab in Yaba, Lagos.

The WhatsApp banking channel is in addition to the bank’s existing channels which include Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), Internet Banking, and Mobile Bank.

With the Chat Banking, customers can check account balance, transfer money, purchase airtime and internet bundles, and also get help.

The bank’s Managing Director, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, said at the launch that as a leading banking services provider, FirstBank was determined to offer satisfactory financial services to customers by devising ways of effectively meeting their needs.

He said

“Since we have 12.5 million customers with 20 billion worth of transactions monthly, it has become necessary for us to create new technology innovations to meet their needs.

“Our FirstMobile app, Firstonline, FirstMonie and USSD banking are some of the channels we have put in place to make this happen.

“FirstBank Chat Banking on WhatsApp is our latest addition. We have gone live with this product, and we are pleased to formally introduce this product to our media partners today.’’

According to the bank’s head of eBusiness, Chuma Ezirim, the WhatsApp channel is the most secure in Nigeria as it provides more security outside the end to end encryption that the Facebook messenger provides.

The head of FirstBank’s Digital Lab, Lola Ekugo, went on to state the authentication process. She said

“For us security is key, we have a lot of customers and we cannot afford to compromise on that.

“Aside from the WhatsApp end to end encryption, there is an authentication via a secure browser hosted by FirstBank for on-boarding where you will be required to answer questions, put in your pin, digits from your debit card and also required to create a pin.”

The bank has also started agent banking to target the unbanked, especially those in rural areas with 744 agent locations across Nigeria.

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