The National, Thursday October 31st, 2013
WESTPAC will introduce a new mobile banking service in February hoping to change the way the bank delivers service in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.
The new scheme will allow the bank to reach out and deliver meaningful financial services to the low and unbanked population across the country and the Pacific Islands.
Westpac’s head of mobile banking Gary Collins said the service, which was launched recently on the Solomon Islands, would be based in the same “unstructured supplementary service data” (USSD) technology that had already proven highly successful in Africa and Asia.
He said: “USSD technology delivers a menu of convenient banking services across all mobile phones, regardless of handset make, data packages or operating system.
“This means this technology can reach out to more people than ever before because of its sheer accessibility.”
Collins said mobile banking was a powerful force in financial services because it had the ability to deliver banking outside of the branch and into the hands of new and current customers.
“For many people, a mobile phone represents the only access to electronic banking and this is a fantastic indicator of the ability of mobile banking to connect those traditionally excluded from financial services,” Collins said.
“Mobile banking technology is particularly beneficial for customers based in remote and rural locations, because it eliminates the need to spend time and money travel long distances to their ‘local’ branch to have their banking needs met.
“Our mobile banking offering will be underpinned by our highly successful in-store banking platform, which offers select merchants the ability to provide banking services to customers using EFTPOS terminal.
“We already have 179 active In-stores across the Pacific, which is testament to the success of this kind of informal banking.”
Customers will be invited to register for Westpac’s new mobile banking product closer to the launch date.