Balance: Leverage Data to Prevent NSFs

Businesses can use Okra Balance to retrieve the real-time balance of their customers' accounts to build relevant products and services.

Balance: Leverage Data to Prevent NSFs

Imagine that you go to the mall to purchase some items.
After adding your favorite goods to your cart, you rush to the counter to checkout with confidence. You patiently wait in the queue - when it is your turn, you give your ATM card to the cashier and input your pin to complete the payment, but your payment fails with the message - “insufficient balance”.

The above scenario is one of the many that users face daily, from paying simple bills or subscriptions to making a payment on a loan. Wouldn’t it be great to know the balance of your account as a customer paying for items or as a business charging a customer for a service to avoid unforeseen circumstances?

Thankfully, Okra Balance helps solve these issues.

What problems does Balance solve?

Non-sufficient or insufficient funds (NSF) refer to a scenario of verifying if an account has enough money to cover payments.

In December 2019, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued a directive, "Guide to Charges by Banks, other financial and non-financial institutions."

In 2020, this directive prompted a Nigerian bank to forward an email to its customers with a subject tag - "Fund your account always to avoid penal charges." The email reads;

"In line with the CBN's Guide to Charges, a failed direct debit transaction resulting from an unfunded account is liable to a charge of 1% of the transaction amount or ₦5,000 – the higher amount is applicable." - Source [Twitter]

The email encourages the bank’s customers to fund their accounts to avoid charges.

Bank charges are one of the many consequences of NSFs and demonstrate the importance of balance information.

Okra’s Solution - Balance

Businesses and fintechs can use Okra Balance to retrieve the real-time balance of their customer’s accounts and build relevant products and services.

Okra Balance helps businesses solve the following problems:

  • Insufficient Funds - Real-time balance ensures that your customer has the funds available to enjoy your services, and reduces the possibility of NSF fees and overdrafts. Retrieving balances means you can reduce the risk to your business while delivering a frictionless customer experience.
  • Fraud Detection - With Okra Balance, companies can detect fraudulent activities in their products by checking the balance of customers in real-time.

How will consumers benefit?

  • Track Your Expenses - Customers can benefit from fintechs that use Okra Balance and Transactions to build budgeting apps that track expenses across bank accounts.
  • Monitor Accounts Regularly - With Okra Balance, fintechs can build finance management products that allow end-users to monitor balances across their financial accounts. For example, an end-user can receive a notification to top-up their account before their monthly recurring bills are due, so services are not disconnected.

How to get started

You can integrate the balance endpoint via various channels - through the Okra widget, a client-side platform, or the API. To integrate, follow these steps;

  1. Create an Okra account (if you don’t already have one)
  2. Setup the widget and pass in the Balance product, or use the API
  3. Get user consent - The customer will give consent for Okra to facilitate the account linkage.
  4. User authenticates with their bank - The user will enter their bank credentials to authenticate the account.
  5. Okra fetches data in real-time - At successful account linkage, Okra fetches account balance. You can also do periodic balance refreshes on a user account balance to stay updated with the balance information.
  6. Read the API documentation for a more detailed approach.

You can test out the API for free without making an actual payment. See here for more pricing information.

Start building right away!

Check out our documentation to learn more about Okra Balance and other related products. Also, sign up for a free account to start building with the Okra today.

If you are passionate about open finance, you definitely should visit our website to see other services that might be appealing to you.

Contact sales or send an email to to get started!