With almost every Kenyan complaining of Safaricom’s high rates or Airtel’s and Orange’s unreliability, the idea of getting rewards with each airtime recharge you make is simply heaven sent. This is what XtraValue promises.
XtraValue gives you discount vouchers redeemable on leading merchant outlets in Kenya. In addition to this, XtraValue will by you and a friend coffee in case you refer the friend to the app.
My Point of Concern
I’m always careful when interacting with apps that ask for access to my phonebook and contact information for advertising and other unclear purposes.
With this in mind, I fished out my junk SIM card (yes, I have one, and it’s legal) and took the app for a spin.
At a Glance
The first thing you have to do after downloading the app is signing up for an account using your email address and phone number. A confirmation email is all you need to activate your registration. The process is fairly simple and necessary.
At the app’s home resides four buttons. One for Credit recharge and others for Deals, Redeem and Partner deals.
The Topup button is the most important as it’s the one that leads to credit recharge. The minimum allowed amount is Ksh50 and you can buy airtime to Safaricom, Airtel, Yu or Orange.
The Payment Process
Paying for airtime launches a custom browser that lets you choose your preferred mode of payment from Mpesa, Airtel, eLipa or credit card.
Choosing a payment option activates a set of instructions you must follow to complete the payment. The fact that you have to manually exit the app and pay on Mpesa or Airtel before resuming to click OK sounds a bit cumbersome. Credit card payments and eLipa might be a bit convenient but the fact that I couldn’t confirm the https url and SSL certificates made me chicken out.
I used Mpesa and did airtime purchase to gather the points before proceeding to the Deals page to see how I could spend my hard earned XP points.
There’s quite the list of places you can get discounts from by using XtraValue. I must admit, most of them are either restaurants or pubs, something that wouldn’t bother me at all on such a cold Thursday evening.
Nonetheless, I would be more excited and satisfied if XtraValue could expand their catalog and give me more point redeeming options.
The app hanged whenever I tried using it over a Wi-Fi network, forcing me to fall back to carrier data. This could be quite the nuisance if you are a regular Wi-Fi user. Moreover, such a simple glitch on an application of this caliber is simply unacceptable.
I have issues with the permissions XtraValue requires of me. I also don’t like the idea of paying with my credit card on a platform I don’t trust, or the cumbersome workaround involved with the mobile money payments. Couple this with the limited offers and you get something that has a long way to go in winning trust and expanding on an otherwise great idea to the level that people who don’t mind sharing their information for discounts can do so while knowing what they’re actually buying into.