NSGB outlines plans for extension of mobile services

National Societe Generale Bank (NSGB) is planning to rapidly expand its SMS mobile banking services, by the end of the year.

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By  Peter Conmy Published  August 6, 2000

National Societe Generale Bank (NSGB) is planning to rapidly expand its short message service (SMS) mobile banking services, by the end of the year.

In mid-May, the Egyptian-bank launched its Porta Bank SMS banking service, enabling customers to request account balance information, closing Cairo Stock Exchange rates and last three transactions on their accounts.

The substantial volume of new customers coming to the bank has driven NSGB to leap into the next phase of its service and enable transactions via the SMS service.

“We want to incorporate transactions into this service very soon. Our customers can do bill payments and transfer money between accounts,” Philippe Guidez, general manager, NSGB told ACN.

“[Porta Bank is] a way for us to attract new customers and position the bank as a leader in the field. We can already see in just two or three weeks that there has been a vast increase in the number of account openings because of this service.”

Real Time Transactions

With the possibility of real time transactions looming, security is obviously of utmost importance to NSGB. For the initial service rollout, the bank deployed a three-tier security, based around the customers banking and telephone details and a separate password.

Currently, a customer has to send a request for information from the mobile phone, which is registered in NSGB’s NCR Unix database, provide the necessary account number, and confirm this information with a password.

“If one of these three elements isn’t correct, then we won’t release any information,” said Guidez.

With the introduction of transaction based information this security model will come under even greater stress. To begin with NSGB will tightly restrict the types of transactions customers will be able to do. For example, account transfers will be kept strictly within the bank and will not involve any third parties.

Also the initial transaction services are likely to be quite simple because mobile phones don’t lend themselves to long drawn out transaction processes.

“The mobile phone is limited, it’s not a computer — there is no keyboard there to do lots of transactions very easily with. The mobile phone is not as easy to manipulate as the PC. For the mobile service there are very specific needs,” explained Guidez.

WAP-eanbled

NSGB’s solution, which was developed and deployed within just three months by Middle East Network Solutions (MNS), is already capable of taking advantage of the existing WAP services offered by the country’s two mobile operators, Mobinil and Click GSM.

However, the bank feels that WAP has yet to reach critical mass before rolling out such services. “We have the facility, but we think WAP will take time,” said Guidez.

“We went with our solution because it was possible to [offer] this service to everybody with a mobile. There are many people out there with older generation phones, and it’s important to offer them this service as well.”

For information visit: www.mnseg.com.

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