CBA Bank recently rolled out Loop, promising to change the way banking is done. The Bank has had phenomenal success with M-Shwari, the savings and credit offering in partnership with Safaricom, and Loop is their effort at attracting millennials into the bank which has been predominantly a corporate and high net-worth individuals bank.

Initially, I couldn’t find the app on the iTunes / App Store. It turns out  is only available in the Kenya store, and this requires that one make the change. While I understand that the CBA would like to restrict this app to Kenyans in the country, this would not exactly be the best way to go about it, seeing as they later ask for a tonne of details.














On download, the app asked for permission to send notifications.













I accepted the notifications and proceeded. There are a couple of buttons on the bottom, with a question asking whether you are passionate about your side hustle: IMG_0336.PNG

I reckoned this was  an app demo or tour, before sign up, so I clicked on clicked on “Tell Me More” which took me to this screen:


then to this:


Pressing “Skip”  up there also ended up on the screen above.

This particular sequence felt incomplete; like it was supposed to sell me on the features of the app, and how it ties in with my passion for my side hustle, and my “Living to Word, or Working to Live”, but it didn’t do much besides add a couple of steps to sign up process. At this point,  I was 4 screens in and yet to see what this is about.

Clicking on open account took me here:


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Keyed in my activation code, and I was ndani, ndaani, ndaaani. 


…or so I thought. Turns out, in Loop world, there is “Register” and “Finish Registration”. Who woulda thunk it?

So.. more forms 😦

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The red over here was because I tried to skip this bit.  Why would they insist on a work address, sector and monthly income for a product aimed at hustlers? A product for the side hustle? 


Wasn’t sure why they needed this (backup contact person). Wasn’t sure also whether they would start texting whoever I added here.





And, I was done. I think.


Clicking finish took me to the sign-up / sign-in page, and I could now sign in to unbank myself.

Well, not so fast.


A minute later, I heard from them.

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Finally. I was “unbanked.”

Well, not yet.

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This was the landing page when I signed up. Of course, as I was new on the app, there would be no data, but dummy data would have been welcome, to show what the app would look like with data in it.












Once inside, the app looked pretty interesting. There are 18 tile menus – from the usual statement, send money, pay bill and statement, to the rather uncommon Goals, Budgeting, Net Worth and OK to spend.



You would expect that, at this point, we were done with registration. Nope.

Trying to carry out any transaction constantly led me to this screen:


My registration/finish registration/activation would not be complete until I got the Loop card.

So, a couple of days after my finishing my registration, :P, I made my way to Yaya Centre where I was issued with a Loop Mastercard.

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They were kind enough to throw in an Artcaffe Gift Card for a pastry and coffee.





Pretty card. NFC doesn’t work on it though.





An interesting thing to note is that their requirement for me to pick up a Loop Card was because they wanted to capture yet more details i.e. my ID, picture and biometrics.

Registering for Loop, or “unbanking myself”  takes too long for what is intended to be a time saving, futuristic approach to banking. Two weeks had passed between me downloading the app, and getting the card, and it took two days to finish filling the form; I kept getting interrupted by messages and calls, then forgetting to get back to it. In this day and age of short attention spans, they will need to change up that sign up process.

I have spent the last 8 or so years designing and developing fintech applications (including my own investing app) and I feel that Loop’s registration tacks on technology onto an old process, rather than a building a process based on an understanding of what technology can offer.Loop is still at heart, a traditional bank; collecting all these details beforehand indicates an aversion to risk, or supposed risk mitigation. The app could adopt lazy sign-ups and graduated Know-Your – Client, collecting more information as one uses the app. All I should have provided was a phone and ID number to get an account. It’s all they need for their M-Shwari product. This would allow me to see what the value of the app is.

My favourite thing about this app, though, is the integrated personal finance tool. I am going to spend some time using the app, and will be posting what I think, and the functionality of each of the services, in part 2.