Country’s first branchless bank drives mobile transactions in the countryside

Written by Russell Co. Posted in News

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Published on October 23, 2012 with No Comments

Good news for non-urbanite Filipinos, results from a recent mobile banking pilot in the countryside affirm the Filipinos’ readiness for cellphone-driven financial services. Banking without the need to go to a bank or connect through a computer.

The Banking the Unbanked (BTU) project was the country’s first cohesive attempt at providing Filipinos branchless, cashless banking services in the countryside using the mobile phone. Initiated by PlaNet Finance Group through its subsidary mBank Holding (MBH) and in partnership with Smart Communications, Inc., the program aimed to benefit low income markets with little or no access to formal banking services.

For the past 18 months, the pilot utilized Smart’s Smart Money platform to provide mobile financial solutions such as micro-savings and micro-loan services to a market of Smart and Talk ‘N Text subscribers.

What sets the program apart is that all transactions, from their Know Your Customer (KYC) processes, account activation, capital-build ups, loan disbursements and collections happened over-the-air (OTA).

“This project was launched to let members of the underserved sector enjoy the full range mobile banking services despite their geographical and income limitations. We are happy that our efforts have helped revolutionize mobile banking services in the countryside,” said Arnaud Ventura, co-founder of mBank Holding, and PlaNet Finance and President & CEO of MicroCred.