First Impressions of Mula – Cellulant’s Bill Payment & Airtime Top-Up Android Mobile App
Earlier today I took Cellulant’s recently launched Mula mobile app for a spin. Mula is a mobile app that is focussed on streamlining the process of paying bills via mobile channels. However, as events would have it, the very phone I used to do the review was stolen from me this afternoon in something of an unnerving experience. This means that all the screen grabs I had from using and testing the Mula mobile app were lost in process. That being said, since it was such a fresh experience, I do recall most of the key points for this blog post? So, lets get started.
Cellulant’s Mula is currently only available on Android so I had actually made the switch from my iPhone this morning to do the mobile app review. The installation process was straightforward as was the creation of an account that requires one to register with a code that is sent to your mobile number via SMS. Once this is done, Mula opens up and immediately you can get cracking. I signed up and indicated the bank that I use and once that was done I was able to access the menu to see what else was there.
The first Mula use case for me was topping up the airtime for my backup Orange line using M-Pesa. This is somewhat bizarre (i.e. using M-Pesa to top-up airtime for a mobile line on a competing mobile network) but its something I have done loads of times before using PesaPal’s online airtime top-up service for my Airtel line. This worked with no hiccups and I was surprised at how smooth and fast the experience was! One thing I noted is that Mula is fully integrated with Safaricom’s M-Pesa API so this means no copying and pasting transaction details? All you have to do is accept or decline the transaction.
However, when I tried to use the same Mula mobile airtime top-up service with my bank account, I was informed that my bank was not yet on the list of connected banks which I found disappointing. The other thing about Mula is that you can use it to pay utilities and services like Kenya Power, Nairobi Water, Zuku, Nairobi County Parking, etc. However, this list is small and I imagine Cellulant is busy signing up more merchants and other utilities. Mula was also able to ingest my previous Kenya Power transactions via SMS so I could see the thread of payments I had made inside Mula. This was pretty nifty as it consolidates everything on one place – which is exactly the reason that Mula exists – to make payments easier.
The overall look and feel of the Mula mobile app is world-class although there were times when the user experience seemed sluggish as I was moving from screen to screen? It would help if some of the buttons in the mobile app actually appeared to respond rather than staying static after tapping them. In addition, I noticed Mula crashed a couple of times when I used it so it seems that its still a work in progress perhaps? However, all things considered, if for no other reason, I look forward to using Mula when I need to top-up my other mobile lines as this alone makes it worth it for me. I can’t wait to see Mula’s full range of capabilities as its improved over time with more merchants and more use cases going forward.