For those who don’t know yet, Ocharge is an airtime recharge app that rewards you with points whenever you use their service to buy airtime. You can then use the earned points to redeem for offers available on the app. The offers range from drinks, food, clothes and even body care. One more thing to note is that, you get reward points equivalent to the amount of airtime you have purchased, this means that airtime worth KES. 200 earns you 200 points on Ocharge.
With that in mind, I decided to try out Ocharge, for the first time. Using the app is quite straight forward, you sign up using your phone number or social media accounts, and you’re in. If you were invited to use the app by a friend, like I was, you get 200 points free on signing up with the invitation code. You are first greeted by the feeds tab, which houses all the offers you have access to.
Scrolling through is as simple as you do on Twitter and Facebook, tapping on an offer gives you more details on the offer. As much as I would like to dwell on how well the app is built (because it is), this review is mostly focused on the experience of the whole Ocharge experience and not just the app. So here’s my experience with Ocharge.
Step One: Buying Airtime
This is the only aspect of using Ocharge that might turn most people away. Buying airtime using Ocharge is not as easy as buying a scratch card and simply dialing some USSD code to load the airtime, you have to use the long and error-prone M-pesa method. No, you don’t go directly to M-pesa and select buy airtime, you actually go to Lipa Na M-pesa, then Buy Goods and Services option, enter Till Number as 167585 and then the amount of airtime you wish to buy.
You will then receive confirmation message of your airtime purchase from M-pesa, Safaricom and E-TOPUP. That’s it, you actually don’t need to open the Ocharge app to buy airtime, but after you’ve purchased the airtime, your reward points will be credited to your Ocharge account. I bought airtime worth 650, which earned me a total of 850 points (650 for the airtime + 200 for the invite) – not that I needed it all, but for the purpose of this review, it had to be done.
Step Two: Picking Deals
The best part is actually finding a deal that you would take advantage of, which I did, two large pizzas for KES. 1250 at Debonairs redeemable with 850 points. Perfect! Picking deals is a simple as tapping on the offer itself and then tapping on “pick” at the bottom right. Once you pick the deal, the indicated amount of points will be deducted from your account, in this case, 850 was deducted. You are then given a coupon, which you will use to redeem your deal at the selected stores. You can access all the deals you have picked from your wallet tab, which also shows you how many points you have in your account.
Step Three: Redeeming Your Coupon
The last step is to redeem your coupon and this is done by simply tapping on Redeem Coupon at the bottom of your coupon and then walking into any of the outlets indicated on the coupon and showing the merchant your coupon. They will then verify the coupon and all you have to do is pay for the deal at the stated discount. In my case, I walked into Debonairs and paid KES. 1250 for the two large pizzas instead of the usual KES. 2000. I went through this process without any hiccups.
So, why exactly would anyone want to use Ocharge?
Well, you are getting extra value for a casual activity that all mobile phone users do, buying airtime. Of course, there are the little disadvantages, such as you must use M-pesa to purchase the airtime and the fact that at the time of this review, Ocharge only worked with M-pesa – this means that anyone who does not have M-pesa is locked out. At least, you won’t be charged for buying the airtime (unlike Xtravalue who use a paybill number) and if you find a good deal, you’ll be happy you used Ocharge.
Would I recommend using Ocharge? Yes, I would, but with an asterisk. Keep in mind their airtime recharge method is not the simplest and I have heard reports of the service failing to deliver airtime once in a while. Ocharge can easily grasp the airtime recharge market and they have managed to stay ahead of the competition by putting the customer needs first. However, Ocharge will have to streamline their recharging method and get better deals as well thus making it easier for me and many others to choose them over the competition.
What are your thoughts? Have you used Ocharge or Xtravalue? Which one do you prefer? If you haven’t used any yet, why not? Feel free to visit our forums for further discussions on Ocharge vs Xtravalue.