Singapore, Cambodia lead Asia in mobile banking

Telecom Asia Staff
29 Apr 2009
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Singapore, Cambodia and Thailand are among the region\'s leaders in terms of mobile banking deployment, Financial Insights senior analyst Abhishek Kumar said.

In Singapore, OCBC has been piloting mobile banking solutions since 2005, and has seen some success with its new banking platform, Kumar told telecomasia.net.

The platform is application-based, he said. "Whatever you can do on the web you can do with [the platform]. They are seeing a certain amount of success [and] we are expecting similar types of solutions to be replicated in other developed markets in Asia-Pac," he said.

But while developed markets are expected to focus on converged banking platforms, in emerging markets it is a different story.

"In developing countries the focus will be more on the unbanked segment - people who do not have bank accounts," he said.

Because of this Thailand\'s Kasikorn bank and Cambodia\'s ANZ Royal have introduced very different solutions.

Kasikorn bank has launched what it calls an ATM SIM. The SIM card will allow customers who also subscribe to DTAC\'s mobile network to conduct banking tasks - such as balance inquiries and fund transfer - via their phones. ANZ Royal has adopted a USSD-based solution.

Kumar said OCBC\'s solution has seen "quite a bit" of take-up and had been particularly successful amongst what was likely to become the key Generation Y group.

Operators and banks looking to introduce mobile banking platforms need to carefully plan their strategy, he said. "You can\'t just jump into mobile banking because everybody else is doing it."

Operators need to decide whether to target the unbanked or offer converged services, as well as consider barriers such as the limits of mobile phone technology, the amount of infrastructure available and the regulatory environment, he said.

Between 2007 and 2008, mobile banking customers doubled, transaction volumes grew five times and transaction values increased elevenfold, Kumar said.

Other regional leaders include Japan, Korea and Australia, while Malaysia was piloting mbanking services, he said.

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