Village Banking App: Invest with Confidence

The Village Banking App helps mobile customers track their Village Bank investments.
First introduced by FINCA, “Village Banks” are groups of entrepreneurs who come together to pool their money and make loans to each other. It is a phenomenon that has seen explosive growth in Africa and other parts of the developing world. Zambia alone is reported to have 15,000 such groups. Not only can local people easily obtain small- and micro loans for their business, but investors can also see a much higher return on their money than they would in other ventures.
The challenge for Village Bank members is that they currently have no convenient means to accurately predict and track what they should be making. The math required to calculate compound interest rates over time is difficult for the average person. Most groups depend on a single committee member to manually make these calculations. This has led to disputes, even lawsuits, over what investors think they are owed.

The Village Banking App solves your problems. It is a record keeping app with advanced calculation abilities. Our app has an intuitive, easy-to-use interface, with the following features:

Track your Village Bank investments.
Accurately calculate payouts owed to you.
Easily predict your earnings ahead of time.
Quickly determine monthly deposits you need to make to reach a final goal.
Calculate both simple and compound interest.
Easily add past accounts for a historical record.
Produce downloadable PDF statements.
Access your account on multiple devices.
Automatically back up your data in real-time to the Amazon Web Services cloud.
Protect your data at all times with strong encryption.
Choose between flexible subscription options.

To get the Village Banking App, you will need to:

Obtain an Android 6.0 (Lollipop) or later phone (iPhone version coming soon!).
Get on the Internet with your phone.
Go to Google Play, select Apps, and search for Village Banking.
Once you find the app, install it. Register Your Username

When you first start the app, you will need to register your name, a unique username, and password. The app makes suggestions to help you choose a unique username. The app will tell you if the name you have chosen is already taken. In order to make sure you have accurate records and statements, make sure the date on your phone is correct. The default currency is the Zambian Kwacha. If you live in a different country, you can select your country and currency.

Once you register and log in for the first time, the app will prompt you to create your first Village Bank account. You can have as many Village Bank Accounts as you like. The accounts can be in the past or present. The app will track them all. Here is how to create your first account. You will need to enter the following:

A unique name for the account (can be the Village Bank Group name)
Cycle start date (cannot be in the future)
Account type (Is the interest Simple or Compound?)
How many months you will be making deposits
Interest rate for the cycle
Minimum amount you are required to deposit each month

You can obtain all of this information from your Village Bank Group.

NOTE: If you are not yet ready to create a Village Bank account, press the back button to cancel creating the account, and then log in with your username and password to see the Home Page. You can always create an account later.

Once you have logged in (and hopefully created your first Village Bank account) you can freely browse around the app. You can always tap the Back arrow in the upper left corner of any screen to return to the Home page.

Once you have your Village Bank account created, you will need to record the deposits you make. These are the monthly savings that you give to the group during the investment cycle. For each account, you record one deposit per month until the cycle has ended.
NOTE: The app assumes you have actually saved the money with your group. It will not check to make sure your record is accurate. It is up to you to enter information properly. You should verify the amounts and dates with your Group Treasurer. The app will always let you correct the date or amount of a deposit in case you make a mistake.
Follow this procedure:

On the Home Page, tap the DEPOSITS
On the Deposits page, select the account you want to make a deposit to.
Tap the Add
Enter the deposit amount.
Select the date of the deposit.
Tap ADD.
The app will enter the deposit and return you to the Home Page.
Tap the DEPOSITS button again to see the deposit you made.

You can always edit or delete deposits. Add more deposits as desired then return to the Home Page.

One of the most exciting features of the Village Banking App is its advanced calculator. Use it to determine how much money you must save each month to reach a financial goal.
Follow this procedure:

From the app Home Page, tap the CALCULATE
On the Calculate page enter:

How much you want to earn at the end of the cycle
Length of the cycle in months
Interest rate
Type of interest

The app will display how much you must save monthly to reach your goal.

The Village Banking App will show you current statements for any of your accounts. If you wish to download any statements as a PDF, you will need two more apps before you can actually view the downloaded statements.
FIRST – Go back to Google Play, and install two apps:

A PDF reader such as Adobe Acrobat Reader for Android
A File Manager such as File Manager Mobile from ASUSTek Computer Inc.

NOTE: You can choose any vendor or brand you wish, but we have found that these two apps work very well.
Once you have installed these two pre-requisites, you are ready to proceed.

Go to the app Home Page, and select STATEMENTS.
Choose the type of account (SIMPLE or COMPOUND) you want to see.
Choose the account name.

The statement will appear immediately. You can create a statement at any time for an account, even if the cycle is not yet finished. The statement will show what has been saved and earned so far.
NOTE: You must view account statements individually. There is no option to view all accounts in a single statement.

In the lower right corner, tap the SAVE button to download your statement.
Switch to the File Manager app à All Files à Internal Storage à Download.
Find your statement and open it.

NOTE: If you installed a different File Manager app, your steps might be somewhat different.

Simple interest pays a fixed percentage of what you deposit. If the interest rate is 10%, and you deposit 1000, then the interest will be 100.  When looking at a statement, there are some things to keep in mind:

Interest is always earned AFTER a month is finished

For example, January’s interest is paid in February, February’s interest is paid in March, etc.

The middle column displays the interest on top and the deposit underneath
The first month will not show any interest
The Account Balance = last month’s balance + interest earned from the last month + this month’s deposit
If the bottom row says “Cycle Ended”, then the entire cycle is finished and it is time for Share Out

The Cycle Ended row will show the interest earned for the last month
The Cycle Ended row will not have any deposits
The Current Total (top) is a combination of all your savings plus all earned interest
The Total Interest (top) is all of the interest you earned in the cycle

If you do NOT see Cycle Ended, then the Cycle is not yet finished

Current Total = what you have saved + interest earned so far
Total Interest = interest earned so farHow to Understand a Compound Interest Statement

The statement for a compound interest account is much the same as that of a simple interest account. However, there is one big difference. The interest earned each month is not calculated as a fixed percentage of last month’s deposit. Instead, it is calculated as a percentage of last month’s account balance. As the months go by, the interest earned becomes greater and greater. If the cycle is for 12 months, you can actually double your money.

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News Source: Mwebantu

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