Capitec, South Africa’s largest digital bank, is looking to fundamentally change how South Africans act around money. It’s doing that with the help of the Capitec MoneyUp Chat, a chatbot that goes by the name of ‘Moola’, using WhatsApp to provide free, “conversational learning” to anyone that seeks it out, and not just Capitec’s own customers.
MoneyUp Chat isn’t just throwing a load of figures and vague terminology at users in the hopes that something will stick. Capitec knows, that despite being free and relatively easy to use, it needs a hook to keep people engaged. That’s why it’s been zhooshed up to include a few simple challenges that take a few minutes to complete with the promise of a chance to win mobile data.
Meet Moola, the Capitec chatbot
We decided to see what ‘Moola’ is made of. If you’d like to try too, just add this number as a contact – 087 240 5757 – open WhatsApp and send a simple ‘Hello’. Be warned, Moola can currently only communicate in English, with no mention of whether more languages will be added to a future build of the bot. Still, it’s a start.
After agreeing to Capitec’s T&Cs, it was time to teach it our preferred name. Throughout, users are given prompts to answer the bot’s questions, rather than typing queries in their own words — barring a few, very specific occasions. Answers are usually given in the form of happy/sad or thumbs up/down emojis, none of which are customizable to each user. Because it doesn’t need to be.
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Soon after, we were greeted by the ‘Slam the Scam Challenge’, designed to teach users to discern hypothetical scams from one another, while offering valuable input along the way. For instance, our challenge, (#5), gave us a story about Joseph and his dodgy dealings to find a pair of sneakers that were 70% off. By the end of the challenge, we had learned how to tell trusted sites from real ones, and what sort of language to expect when screen-to-screen with a scammer.
Moola isn’t all about scams. Its bigger focus is to teach South Africans how to be more frugal with their money. We found an entire course, complete with a number of chapters, dedicated to the art of saving. Specifically teaching users the tools they need, how to reach their goals, and the best and simplest ways to budget effectively. P.S. – there’s a chance to win some data here, too.
There’s plenty more to the MoneyUp Chat than meets the eye. Why not give it a go yourself? It’s free.