Views from Fiona: Banking in Uganda Gone High Tech
Out with the old: Cham Towers (former Uganda Commercial Bank Building) getting more than a face lift.

Views from Fiona: Banking in Uganda Gone High Tech


Ugandans forced to keep up with technology.

By Fiona Abaasa
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First published: August 16, 2007


Banking in Uganda often gives some people shivers and headaches considering the elaborate process customers go through while conducting transactions. Uganda, however, is known for always embracing modern technology and so Ugandan banks have joined the high tech bandwagon and made banking user friendly and easy. The problem, it seems, is with clients who have adamantly refused to adapt to the computer age and still find comfort in all things manual.


Forgive them, for not all Ugandans are not known to be electronically savvy, which explains their reluctance to learn all they need to use modern methods of banking. You see, many Ugandans have an inherent fear of all things electronic; from iPods, internet banking, surfing, to simple transactions using automated teller machines. They have left that bit to the younger generation to play with.

With a recent directive from the Bank of Uganda that stopped all banks from honouring cheques above 20 million Uganda shillings, Ugandan banks have introduced electronic means of transferring large sums of money from one bank to another or a clients account. Real time gross settlement (RTGS), electronic funds transfer (EFT), and internet banking have been introduced to save banks and clients from unscrupulous persons bent on fleecing banks and clients. However, not all clients appreciate these efforts. Some still prefer the good old cheque and cash to electronic wizardry.

In line with international banking standards, the Bank of Uganda (BoU) and all commercial banks are trying to provide their clients with tailor made services to improve delivery of services and cut out a niche in the nearly exhausted Ugandan banking market. Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic Bank, Crane Bank and a few others have introduced electronic Visa cards. Some have even gone a step further by introducing SMS and internet banking methods, which clients can conduct in the comfort of their homes.

It will take time for local Ugandans to appreciate these innovations but Ugandans living in the Diaspora will find this news music to their ears. Losing money to cheating intermediaries and greedy family members who they entrust with their cash should now be outdated. They only need to open an account with a bank of their choice and conduct transactions online. Some Ugandan banks like Stanbic Bank, Housing Finance Bank and DFCU Bank have property mortgage arrangements that Ugandans need to explore. If living abroad, why engage relatives and friends to purchase property on your behalf, cheat you and leave you high and dry when you can take out a mortgage with the likes of Akright Projects Ltd and Knight Frank through your bank?

Whereas some of these banks are already listed on the Kampala Stock Exchange, others will soon float shares for the public to buy. Which is a better way to invest than in stocks, bonds, shares and property? All this can be made easier by your Ugandan bankers who are only a click away.

However, every technology comes with its own disadvantages. So, clients of Ugandan banks must have the ability to choose a service provider whose banking system is as fool proof as possible. Ugandans must also learn the culture of investing and saving. Gadgets that seem weird must be cracked and banking with ATM cards should be embraced. With this kind of growth, Ugandans may soon be offered credit cards. Then there will be no need to travel to the UK, US, Thailand, etc to shop. An online visit to eBay, Alibaba, etc will suffice for products to arrive at Ugandan doorsteps.

By Fiona Abaasa
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First published: August 16, 2007
Fiona Abaasa is a UGPulse.com writer based in Kampala. Fiona has been writing for the site since 2005 giving her the second oldest writer history on the site.

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