Meet Intumwa Chatbot, your friend, if your financial services provider is not. – KT PRESS

If you thought your bank was a little too jaded to respond to your complaint, help is at hand. Consumer protection has become more robust. Say hello to Intumwa Chatbot.

Suppose you notice a misdirected transaction in your account and you naturally go to report it to your bank. A few days later and still nothing has been done to correct the error, the bank seems rather nonchalant about it, but what can you do, you have to keep asking, begging, cajoling, tearing yourself away the hair.

Well, not anymore. Now, if you are unhappy with the way a bank or other financial service provider, regulated by the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), handles your complaint, you can take both your initial complaint and the least performing institution. service, at Intumwa Chatbot.

Over the past decade, the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) and its partners have done a lot to expand financial inclusion in Rwanda, with the result that now almost 9 out of 10 Rwandans are, in one way or another. another, financially included.

However, as access to financial services has increased, awareness of the limitation of consumer protection has also increased.

Further, awareness of existing protections was limited to a small demographic of mostly literate, urban males with access to digital services. People with low income and low literacy, especially in rural areas, have been effectively excluded from complaint resolution processes.

There were also limits within the BNR itself. Complaints were handled manually, which was both time-consuming and insufficient to deal with the inevitably growing volume of complaints.

The answer for the BNR, with the support of the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI), was to create the Intumwa chatbot.

“Facilitating sound policies and regulations, including those that enhance consumer protection and catalyze financial inclusion, is a key mandate for ADFI. With the proliferation of digital financial services, the financial sector needs innovative consumer redress and follow-up mechanisms for regulators,” said ADFI Coordinator Sheila Okiro.

The complaints service is accessible in all the official languages ​​of Rwanda, starting with Kinyarwanda of course, English and French. Users don’t need to be online to complain. They can text or even call to complain.

For those with internet access, the process is quick, user-friendly and easy to follow. The financial institution that is the subject of the complaint is in a position to follow up on the complaint and may wish, at any time, to contact the complainant to resolve the problem.

But if you are still not satisfied, you can send the complaint to the National Bank of Rwanda itself. This is undoubtedly an important step in consumer empowerment, and one that is likely to influence a change in the way financial service providers respond to customer complaints.

For the director of the BNR Market Conduct Supervision, Gérard Nsabimana, the service should accommodate both consumers and financial service providers.

The system will allow consumers of financial services to raise their complaints and get feedback through different virtual channels. We hope the system will benefit both consumers of financial services and financial service providers,” he said.

For more information about the Intumwa chatbot, which may not be covered in this article, you can call BNR on 0788199000.

Stephen V. Lee