Standard Chartered Starts Mobile Banking With Pomp

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It's new, it's exciting and it's anywhere and at anytime; but to enjoy it you must be banked with Standard Chartered Bank. This is the new age of mobile telephony usage to interface with your bank.

During the grand launch of Mobile Banking otherwise known as M-banking at Kampala Sheraton's Rwenzori Ball Room on November 25, 2008, the head of marketing at Stanchart, Leah Waichungu said the customer can check for his bank balance, transfer funds to another Stanchart customer, pay bills to the national water supply agency (NWSC) and the national electricity supplier UMEME and a host of other transactions that you would normally perform in the banking hall.

According to Herman Kasekende, the Head of Retailing Banking; the facility is open to all customers new and old and for all new customers, they will automatically be signed in to M-banking while old ones will fill in a simple form available at all Standard Chartered branches country wide.

"You can pay school fees to institutions that bank with us from New York, Nairobi, Dubai or China using your phone. And you do not need a special mobile phone," Kasekende explained.

Stanchart's M-Banking is pioneered in partnership with Warid Telecom and it will soon roll out to Zain subscribers. Kasekende explained that all a customer has to do is press *177# and then he/she is onto M-banking.

And the customer need not remember any transaction format. The service is available for customers on international roaming at no extra operational cost. The only charge attached to the service is just UShs500 (less than half a US dollar) for each transaction that you perform just as it is on the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) and Warid Telecom will be charging a flat fee of UShs300 (quarter of a US dollar) to access this banking platform.

Lamin Kemba Manjang, the CEO Stanchart Uganda said: "This is a new revolution in banking whereby the bank takes the service to the customer other than the customer going to the bank. This is enabled through his/her mobile phone. And Uganda is the first country under the Standard Chartered Bank Group to launch this product."

The idea behind mobile banking is to help the banking customer to transact on his mobile phone without the hassle and bustle of the bank hall environment of requesting for a cheque book statement and bill payment by having to line up.

Raheel Ahmed, the regional Head of Consumer Banking for Africa based in Dubai explained that Standard Chartered values customer mobility and therefore, the bank is committed to offer easy, fast, secure and innovative means of interfacing with their esteemed customer.

"We are glad that we have partnered first with Warid Telecom in Uganda which has also positioned itself as a giant in innovation and excellence which, at Stanchart we consider a tradition," Raheel said.

Raheel said Stanchart has 160 branches in 13 African countries and employees over 6,000 permanent staff. The bank has been in Uganda since 1912 as the first bank to open a branch here while in the rest of Africa; since 1863. The bank has strong bases in Asia and the Middle East and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile, in a separate interview with The East Africa Business Week, Zul Juvaid, the CEO Warid Telecom in Uganda told this reporter that M-banking is not new in their Middle-East stronghold and he confessed that he last interfaced with his banker about seven years ago.

He said Warid Telecom family is extremely privileged to pioneer this innovation with a pioneer bank in Uganda. "Because our signal is clear everywhere in Uganda and our roaming service is up to date; you can be sure of 'no dropped' M-banking transactions on our network," he added.

EA Business