There was a prank. And then there was an app. And somehow the prank got me to check out the app. And I’m sure most of you also downloaded the app because of the prank.

I feel like I should share some of my thoughts on OCharge – the app that allows you to get more from buying airtime. Wanted to have a big title like: The Quest to Change the Value of Airtime. But…

Basically OCharge does this:

You recharge airtime using the app, you get points. One shilling equals one point. And from the points you can get deals on the app. Deals like shoes, food, discounts, etc. And the deals aren’t promised to come in the future. They are actually available on Signing up. As long as you have the points.

There’s an app that launched weeks ago that offered almost the same service. I failed to download it because of the privacy concerns people raised against it online. I also think their marketing strategy pushed me away. All of a sudden people I follow on Twitter were recommending something I had never heard of! I don’t know how they are fairing on.

I had the same concerns when downloading OCharge. And so I had to check my App settings. There are no permissions granted. It only shows that it may need permission to access contacts of which there has still been no request. And I doubt I’ll ever grant it these permissions. The good thing with Android 6 is you get a notification pop-up every time an app requires certain permissions.

ocharge-appSo how to buy airtime:

If you are used to going to a shop to buy airtime, then this is completely different. If you are used to Find SIM toolkit -> MPesa -> Buy Airtime -> Amount -> Pin. Then this is slightly different.

  1. You have to go to the app.
  2. Locate the floating button.
  3. Choose Recharge airtime.
  4. Input number you are buying airtime for.
  5. Enter amount of airtime. Proceed.
  6. Enter the number you want to buy with on MPESA. Confirm.
  7. It will then tell you to go to MPesa and use Lipa na Mpesa Buy Goods and Services.
  8. Go to Mpesa
  9. Lipa na Mpesa
  10. Buy Goods and Services
  11. Enter the given till number
  12. PIN
  13. Then you’ll wait some seconds to receive your airtime.

After completing the process there’ll be a notification from the app to tell you you’ve received the number of points for the amount you bought your airtime. ie. 1500 points for 1500 shillings. There will also be an email notification.

Will this App succeed?

One can only guess.

The processes of buying say Ksh. 20 worth of airtime is so long as you can see above. But still, it is worth noting that the people behind the idea seem to have the strength to market it. It also launches at an opportune time because of certain factors:

  • MPesa Kadogo
  • Christmas deals

The good:

  • Getting deals for your airtime is pretty amazing.
  • The app is well designed.
  • The deals are already there.
  • You can buy airtime for any network

The Bad:

  • Payment currently is only via MPesa
  • Safaricom users are the lucky ones here.
  • Deals offered currently are all in Nairobi based shops/restaurants
  • Process of buying airtime still too long. Takes a lot of time.
  • One has to always use the app when buying airtime to garner points

I have only bought airtime once using the app. Yet I have actually bought airtime a couple of times since downloading the app.

If the app can find a way of reducing the steps taken to buy airtime for example by using a digital wallet, I think I would buy airtime with them a lot more. And have more points. And enjoy more deals… but wait I’m in Moi University, Main Campus, Kesses. There are no deals here!

They should think of a way to have deals across the country and not only in Nairobi. Because why have points if you cannot use them?!

OMbassador:

I have visited their website and found that they are offering internships to University students who are obsessed about Marketing and Brand Management. You can apply here –> http://ocharge.co.ke/home/ombassador.ocharge

Maybe the students are the ones who’ll be looking for deals across the country.

Finally:

The Eric Omondi prank was so good. Whoever thought it through is brilliant.

The idea behind making airtime have more value is also brilliant! And I’m sure everyone of you who’s tried it out, or who’s going to try it out after reading this agrees with me.

Do you think OCharge will change how you buy airtime? Have you tried it out? What are your thoughts?