The first-ever mobile phone banking service, known WING, was launched by financial services provider Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) Banking Group, which is a start-up offering mobile phone payments services in Cambodia, aimed mainly at the unbanked, the service enables user to make various transactions.
New SMS based-mobile phone payments services, WING, which is ANZ’s new branchless banking service, will enable rural Cambodians to make low-cost person-to-person payments and transfers directly from their mobile phone, and reducing the risks associated with handling large amounts of cash.
Before transferring money, subscribers have to open virtual bank accounts on their cell phones without going to banks. In order to deposit money into their accounts, subscribers just visit any of WING’s 70 agents – typically phone retail shops – of which 60 are located in Phnom Penh and 10 are in Kompong Speu, Takeo and Kandal provinces.
While approaching the WING shops, a customer just dials the WING service number and types codes or commands into their cell phone depending on whether the desire is to deposit or withdraw funds. And then, retailers either dole out or collect the cash, and in turn make a profit from transaction fees.
During WING’s launch on Tuesday, Mike Smith, ANZ’s CEO, said that “WING will help improve people’s livelihoods and reduce poverty by increasing their access to banking services,” he added that mobile banking – also known as M-Banking or SMS Banking – has already taken root across the developing world, and Citibank introduced a similar system in the United States in mid-2007.
Money transfer to non-WING customers incur a $1 fee, while transfer to WING customers incur at most a fee of 1 percent of the transaction value. By the way, there is no minimum transaction, but the maximum is $1,000 in any one day.
Meanwhile, the mobile phone payments services have proven successful across developing countries, such in Philippines in 2005, South Africa, Kenya and Latin America.
National Bank of Cambodia’s deputy governor Neav Chanthana, lauded the ability of mobile banking to provide financial services to those without access to standard bank accounts, according to the Cambodia Daily.
“WING provides our population, no matter where they work in Cambodia, the ability to stay financially linked to their families faster and cheaper than ever before,” said he.
WING is currently only functional on Telekom Malaysia International’s 015 and 016 prefixes, WING Managing Director Bran Jones said, he added that the service should be available within three to six months through all mobile providers.
So Ponnary, executive vice-president and chief operating officer of ACLEDA Bank, agreed the technology was well suited to the Cambodian context and added that ACLEDA was hoping to launch its own mobile payments system by the end of 2009, quoted by the Phnom Penh Post.
ANZ Royal Bank is an international standards bank, which is established by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ), a global corporation with over 170 years of international banking experience and one of the top 50 banks in the world, and the Royal Group of Cambodia, one of Cambodia’s largest corporations. ANZ holds 55% of total shares on issue and Royal Group holds 45%. Banking service offered included Access transaction account, Savings Account, Business Account, Term Deposits, Cash Management Account, Telegraphic Transfer, Home Loans, Business Loans, Trade and Payment, and Markets products, ATMs and Credit cards.