Do you have questions about the Wala digital banking platform or the Wala financial management app? You are in luck! In this week’s blog we are showcasing a Q&A with Wala’s CoFounder and Chief of Product, Samer Saab, whose main role is to build, mobilize and monetize the Wala digital banking platform.

What is Wala and what inspired you to build something for Africa?

Samer: Wala is a mission-driven company that is trying to fix the financial service industry in emerging markets. Our approach is to do so by providing a free banking product through a digital platform. I chose to take on this task because I’m attracted to big problems and there are no bigger problems than one impacting several billion people. But I was inspired when my co-founder, Tricia Martinez, showed me how real the problem was with the Wala community. The individuals and their stories motivated me to join Tricia on this journey.

Wala is building the first free digital bank for Africa. That is amazing! What about the Wala financial management app, what is it? And how is it different from the Wala digital bank?

Samer: We are currently building the free Wala digital banking product, which will be available early in 2017. We have also built a personal financial management app to help Wala customers get in control of their finances right now. The app is designed to help you track your spending and improve your savings. Through the app, you can log your daily transactions, meet goals, take quizzes, and enter lotteries to win prizes like cash. The app is still in beta but will see a full release soon.

How do we use the financial management app? Is it easy to use or complicated?

Samer: The app is very easy to use. Once the app is public, you will download it from the Google Play store (Android phones only right now) for free, and install it. During the setup you will create an account and estimate your financial health, including your estimated current savings, income, and expenses. From there you will be able to begin entering your daily expense from the screen in the app. All you do is click the transaction type, enter an amount, and save. That’s it!

What are the benefits of using the financial management app?

Samer: The purpose of the app is to help you get in control of your finances. Before you can prosper you need to know how you are spending. The first step is to track and the second step is to improve. The goals that are set personally for you are optimized for you but are also meant to push you so you can get better financial health over time. Finally, by using the app you will have the opportunity to win cash prizes as a reward for your great spending behavior.

What devices or operating systems support the financial management app?

Samer: Currently the app works on any Android device.

And how can I change my Password?

Samer: When you login to your account, go to the More section of the app, and under the My Account section click Change Password. It’s that easy.

What type of internet connection do I need to run this app?

Samer: The app does not use a large amount of data but you do need to be connected to the internet to use it. Whatever connection you need to use Whatsapp or Facebook should work for the Wala financial management app as well.

Is the app being used in other countries?

Samer: Yes, the app will be released widely but is currently targeting users in Uganda and South Africa.

Some of us come from villages, how will this app help us and our people back in the village?

Samer: The philosophy and approach to saving is consistent for everyone, whether you live in a city or in a village. You need to track your spending to know where your money is going and figure out exactly where you can improve.

In the game section, when playing or answering a daily quiz, why do I always get wrong answer?

Samer: Don’t get frustrated! That’s part of the process. If you are getting an answer wrong, learn what the right answer is. Also, read the financial tip that further explains why the right answer is correct. Over time you will see yourself get smarter and smarter, you will get more questions right, and your finances will improve as well.

What is the use of points gathered in the financial management app?

Samer: The points that you gather in the app are what will allow you to win rewards. You will use those points to buy tickets for the chance to win cash. Earn points by adding transactions, meeting goals, and inviting friends to join the Wala app. Once we release the full product, lotteries will be implemented and you can enter your chance to win cash prizes.

Will you continue to run the financial management app when you launch the Wala digital bank app?

Samer: Yes! In fact, we see them merging together to an extent. The financial management and guidance that you currently get in the app will be available in the digital banking app. It will actually be even stronger and a better experience for you since you won’t have to input your transactions every day. This next step for Wala is the most important one for our members and will bring real change to finance in Africa.

If you haven't already, don't forget to sign up and download the Wala digital finance app today!