FriMi 101: How to use a Digital Bank

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You might have already used it many times to redeem an irresistible offer. Maybe you’ve used it occasionally to pay for dinner because it was easier. But if all you’re using FriMi more than a simple payment platform. FriMi offers some powerful features because it considers itself to be a completely digital bank.

The sign-up process and security

The process begins as you’d expect with any bank account. You start by entering your basic details like your name, address, and date of birth. Along with these details, you’ll also need to take a picture of your NIC. Alternatively, you can use your passport or driver’s license. Finally, you’ll need to take a selfie as well. It might be a bit challenging to get it right the first time so be sure to check your lighting.

But why do you need to take all these pictures in the first place? It’s because opening an account on FriMi means you’re getting a bank account without even stepping into a bank. As such, the regulations set out by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka require this information.

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The thorough but slightly lengthy sign up process of FriMi

This is also why you need to be verified by an agent who’ll visit you to confirm your details before you can use FriMi. But once everything has been confirmed, you can get started with the app without going to the bank.

Of course, with digital banking one can’t ignore the question, “How secure is it?” When it comes to FriMi, the answer to that question is every security measure adopted by a typical bank. Additionally, FriMi also uses a PIN or biometric as an added layer of security. But what happens if your phone gets lost or stolen?

In such instances, you can log into your account through a new device. Once you’ve logged in, you can block your previous phone from accessing your account via the settings. Yet, like with any bank, FriMi recommends that you immediately call and inform them that your phone was lost or stolen if it occurs.

Adding money into your FriMi account

Once you’re fully registered, you can add money into your new FriMi account. This can be done through a variety of ways. You can link your other bank accounts with FriMi. Alternatively, you can deposit cash into your account by visiting an NTB branch, cash deposit machine, online/mobile banking, or at an authorized merchant. There are a plethora of options.

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What Frimi Offers

Yet, what makes FriMi bank accounts attractive at the moment, is the comparatively high rate of interest. Your FriMi account is a normal bank account but with upto 7% interest. That’s significantly higher than the usual 3% banks offer. Once your account has been opened, you can monitor it in real-time through the app. In other words, you can see your current balance and recent transactions.

How to use your money with FriMi

When you open a FriMi Savings account, you get your own digital wallet. If you wish, FriMi will also send you a physical debit card. Of course, one could argue that it’s counter-intuitive for a “digital bank” to offer debit cards. Yet, FriMi defends this decision with the counter-argument that Sri Lanka has an economy driven by cash. Therefore, it believes that it must ensure that customers have access to their cash.

So how exactly can you pay for stuff with FriMi? There’s a bunch of options. These are: scanning a QR code, using your mobile number, using your wallet ID, and by NFC. At the moment, FriMi has a large number of merchants within Colombo. This includes large retailers like Keells and Arpico along with services like PickMe.

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How you can use your money with Frimi

But how much are you charged for each of these transactions? At the time of writing, absolutely nothing. Currently, there’s only a daily transaction limit and a per transaction limit. This means you can spend a combined total of Rs. 1,000,000 using your FriMi account on any given day. And no transaction you make can be over Rs. 500,000.

Sharing money between friends

Additionally, you can also use FriMi to transfer cash between friends. This can be done in two ways. One being through the app if you and your friend both use FriMi. Another way is by using digital tokens. This can be used to transfer money to your friends that don’t use FriMi or even a smartphone.

Once you send a token, a unique code is generated, which can be entered by your friend at an NTB ATM to get the money. Similarly, you can also request your friends to lend you some money through the app. They can then use the above methods to transfer money to you remotely. Though if you don’t receive the money you requested then you’ll get a text message informing you of it.

Interestingly, FriMi doesn’t have any charges for these fund transfers. So unlike with other digital wallets and banking platforms, you can send money to your friends at no extra cost. Yes, this applies to fund transfers to people that don’t use FriMi as well.

So how can you use FriMi?

That’s the basic guide covering the different features of FriMi and how you can utilize them. Currently, FriMi is available on smartphones and tablets. You’ll need a device that runs Android Lollipop or iOS 10. If you’re interested in exploring the app, then click here.

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