Taking banking services to your mobile phone

The reliability of the service is yet to be determined

BoB: In a yet another move towards going cashless, the Bank of Bhutan (BoB) launched its mobile and agency banking service in Thimphu, yesterday.

The mobile banking (M-BoB) is accessible on any mobile smartphone. While smartphone users can do mobile banking with the M-BoB mobile app, other mobile phone users can access the facility by dialing *262#, which is similar to the B-Wallet service as it does not require an internet connection.

On registering for M-BoB, customers will also be able to make bill payments, check account balances, calculate loan EMI, recharge to B-mobile numbers, request for cheque books and apply for credit card and loans, among others.

The Agency Banking service will help people at locations away from the Bank or an ATM to open an account, make withdrawals and deposits at agent locations appointed by BoB.

BoB CEO, Pema N Nadik, explained that the service was developed after examining the mobile user population and to help customers do banking from anywhere.

He pointed out that 76 percent of the Bhutanese population has access to mobile phones and of them, 25 percent have access to data services.

On how reliable the service would be, specially after criticism received for B-wallet, the CEO said, they are not sure if similar issues would arise. The service has ben tested only among the bank’s registered staff and volume testing is yet to be done.

“Until and unless we start receiving volumes of users, we can’t say it will not gives problems like that of B-wallet,” he said. “It will function as trail and error.”

To address the B-wallet issue, BoB consulted Bhutan telecom but problem could not be fixed. B-wallet’s traffic congests if 20 people use the service simultaneously.

A BoB press release states that the Mobile and Agency Banking system can accommodate 50 transactions per second. The system is configured in such a way that it can accommodate up to 100 transactions per second if required.

M-BoB would also serve the under-banked and unbanked population of the country in the financial system thereby supporting the government’s objective of financial inclusion, it is also pointed out.

Registration is free at the moment but minimal charges on some services may be applied at a later date after notifying the public, the press release stated.

Finance minister, Namgay Dorji attended the launching ceremony.

By Nirmala Pokhrel

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