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Published on March 14th, 2009 | by Arsalan Mir


Mobile Banking

PTA in collaboration with Total Telecom organised “The Second International Conference on Mobile Banking” on 12 March at Marriot Hotel Karachi. Primary aspiration was to explore potential opportunities across mobile commerce sector in the country. Representatives from State Bank of Pakistan, Banks, Financial Institutions, Ministry of IT, Cellular Operators, Software Houses, ICT consultants and academicians attended to impart their invaluable input and expertise on the subject.

On this occasion, Telenor Pakistan expressed interest for investment in Mobile Banking sector. The President and CEO,  Jon Eddy Abdullah,  was one of the speakers at the conference. He said on the occasion that he was sure that with the support of regulators and collaboration between telcos and banks, the industry will be able to provide consumers what they need: easy, affordable access to financial services.

Abdullah said that Telenor Pakistan is excited to promote this phenomenon, which is evident its partnership with Tameer Bank. Prominent figures from the corporate sector were present at the conference to discuss the scope, possibilities and challenges of Mobile Commerce (M-Commerce) and Mobile Banking (M-Banking) in Pakistan.

Participants discussed different aspects of the M culture in Pakistan including VAS, Branchless Banking, mPayments, ePayments and Security Challenges. The statement pointed out that the Mobile Banking brings with it facilities such as paper/plastic-free money transactions, bank account maintenance, money transfer, mobile sales, auctions, brokerage and much more.

Pakistan has 90 million mobile user whereas there are only 26 million Bank Accounts holder in Pakistan and that is why Pakistan has great potential for Mobile Banking and to bring un-bank people in the Banking fold. This was stated by Atif Aslam Bajwa President MCB Bank Limited.

Bajwa further said that through M-Banking we can introduce branchless banking in Pakistan as beside all literacy problem a great number of population is numerically educated due to mobile phone. Dr. Muhammad Yaseen Chairman PTA said that the focus of Cellular Operators is Voice and not on other value added services. Through Mobile Banking Cellular Operators can offer a great value added service to their Customers.

People have to make queue for making payment of their utility bills and through M-Banking it can be done in seconds. He also said that it is necessary to take security measures for making transaction secure i.e. Digital Signature Authentication. Jameel Ahmed Executive Director State Bank said that M-Banking will surely provide great advantages to Banking Sector of Pakistan as Banking will not be restricted to Branches after introduction of M-Banking and surely provide Banking to un-bank people.

Saad M Warriach Country Director Nokia Siemens said that through M-Banking touch point can be provided to a large number of population and M-Banking will be more effective for Micro Finance and rural population. Hassan Khan Head of Security Practice MEA Nokia Siemens, also elaborated scope of m-banking.

Rizwan Munawar Senior Regional Manager ORACLE emphasized on the security aspect of M-Banking and elaborated the measures should be taken to secure transaction through Mobile Device. Abrar Mir E Commerce Global Head UBL said that at present most of the Pakistani are using Mobile for Balance and Statement query however mobile can serve more through WAP enabled services for transaction and making payments.

The future of M-commerce and M-banking in Pakistan is promising what is awaited is the practical implementation of it.

[ Via PTA and TMCnet.com ]

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About the Author

is a Telecom enthusiast with engineering background based in Lahore. On professional front, he is the Director Operations at the Target Group. He can be reached at arsalan (at) telecompk (dot) net

10 Responses to Mobile Banking

  1. bstreak69@gmail.com says:

    I totally disagree with what the speakers have to say in a potential to follow lead for spreading likewise service in Pakistan. There is only 3% population in Pakistan for mobile banking or related financial service. The untapped segment who does not have a cell phone would be major driver? Was this conference happening at 3 in the morning? The person who does not have a cell phone is considered as a potential mobile banking target with like what an account of Rs. 100 and he is going to pay out of that the cellular service to do a mobile transaction. have you forgotten the basic rule that that cellular service live on ARPUs?

    Then Telenors going to first bank the unbanked and then get them a cell phone and then teach them to do mobile banking. Tameer Bank project is going to the biggest failure in the history of Telenor if they’re planning to first focus on the unbanked. Mark this for future reference.

    Focus on the people who have a cell phone and money to spend first and then cascade to lower quarters. This is a third world country, financial services move in a top-down prescription.

    Make some sense when you do public statements. You don’t even know your own markets.

  2. H. says:

    Sorry but I’m not good at remembering stuff word-by-word. =). In summary, they’ve (A2Z – http://a2zepayments.com/) automated the traffic chalan system in Peshawar (if I remember correctly), and his discussion was based around the hurdles that he had to confront while trying to deploy this solution. He was mentioning how they deployed a solution for the traffic police to log their chalans. They initially did it in English, but realised very quickly that the service was not picking up because the traffic wardens were not comfortable seeing the form in English. So they changed the form language to Urdu, and sure enough the service picked up. For those who commit the offense, initially the planned to send them their ticket on their handsets, but soon realised that Pakistan mentality is to see something in hard copy, so they opted for POS terminals where these traffic violators can go and submit their fine. Points I liked were about the messages he communicated in his case study:

    – Overcoming the language barrier to make such a service a hit
    – Investing in educating the users/masses that e-receipts are OK and reliable
    – Showing people how convenient such technologies/solutions are, and how much hassles they can save such as standing in long lines at the banks
    – Get a strong backing of the governing authorities…else it’s a lost case in Pakistan

  3. Babar Bhatti says:

    @H – well said. Yes we know the potential but the hurdles still remain but a lot of this has to do with coordination over various bureaucratic and slow organizations.

    Can you share a bit more about A2Z payments talk?

  4. H. says:

    I hope that such conferences become a bit more productive. Last year it seemed like a display of solution providers, aiming to highlight their own solutions’ distinguishing features. This year was marred by everyone giving out the same message – the industry has a lot of potential, we must tap into the unbanked and all stake holders must collaborate. Utterly boring! And everyone was more or less saying the same thing. Although I appreciate the efforts made by the organizers, if the objective is to help the industry the structure of the event needs to be more “structured”….otherwise you see what I saw after lunch…there were hardly 30 people or so to listen to the last 3 or 4 speakers! The only refreshing session was by the CEO of A2Z Payments.

    I feel that the regulators need to bring in some consultants who will come in and tell us how to actually make all this talk a reality. I know that consultants only tell you what you already know but let’s face it…it’s been two years that everyone has been saying that this industry has promise in Pakistan, and there’s still nothing there to truly tap the unbanked.

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  8. Arsalan Mir says:

    @ Shaukat
    It would definitly come with security measures!
    @ Masood
    Nice read, a post within a post :)

  9. Masood Ahmed says:

    Saturday, March 14, 2009
    By By our correspondent

    KARACHI: Mobilink Head of M-Commerce, Aniqa Afzal Sandhu has said Pakistan is ready for m-commerce (mobile commerce) with 50 per cent cellular penetration and only 11 per cent banking penetration.

    “Due to low spread of banking infrastructure there is a huge untapped market. Currently Rs0.9 trillion are outside the banking industry and are transacted through informal channels. However, the relatively high penetration rate of cellular services offers a lucrative opportunity for all stakeholders to benefit from the services offered through mobile commerce,” she said.

    Having pioneered m-commerce in Pakistan, Mobilink shared its learning at the 2nd International Conference on Mobile Banking to encourage other players in banking and telecom sectors to follow its lead.

    In developing countries, the practice has largely been operator-centric because there is a gap between bank/financial service infrastructure and cellular service availability/penetration, with cellular footprint surpassing banks significantly, she stated.

    Though the cellular and banking customers are the natural target segment of such revolutionary services, the greater beneficiaries would be the untapped segment that neither has a cell phone nor a bank account. This segment will be a major driver for adoption of wireless technologies and services, she added.

    Masood Ahmed
    MS telecom in IQRA, karachi

  10. ShoukaT says:

    mobile banking can be dangerous incase you loose your mobile and it gets in hands of a techy person..

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