A Myanmar bank’s e-wallet scheme to go nationwide

YANGON – Myanmar Apex Bank, the nation’s first bank to offer an e-wallet service, has set its sights on expanding the service across the country in three months, banking on the high mobile phone penetration rate.

Managing director Win Min Khine said mobile banking was developed as an agent-based model where customers can open their own mobile wallet accounts at any agent’s outlets without going to the bank.

“We are aiming to expand our agent network significantly in the months ahead so that everyone who has a mobile phone can tap into our services,” he said.

“Fewer than 20 per cent of Myanmar’s population have bank accounts, which is very low compared to our neighbouring countries.

“Our vision is to make financial services accessible to every citizen with a phone even in the furthest reaches of the country with limited access to banking.”

The bank’s service is working on all kinds of phones, whether smartphones or low-cost keypad feature phones.

The bank has about 1,000 agents and over 10,000 users. The number of agents will be doubled by |the end of this year and increased to more than 10,000 in three years.

With the agents or at the bank’s branches, individuals can install an app to open a mobile banking account.

They can start making transactions right after making deposits to the accounts.

Through the accounts, they can check their balances, pay bills and make payments at supermarkets and convenience stores.

Wong Hok Siong, head of mobile banking, noted that to achieve |a nationwide presence, the bank |has urged main agents to build|their networks, particularly in locations where the bank has no presence.

“We do want to increase our density of agents. We believe in quality agents rather than quantity,” he said.

The app supports three languages – Myanmar, English and Chinese. It was completed with thorough research and is in line with customer feedback.

Customers are also assured of security, with the assistance of a mobile sim tag, which uses AES (advanced encryption standard) 256 secure data encryption.

“With our mobile bank, it is now very easy for users to pay electricity bills or transfer money to others with just a few clicks on a phone without having to spend a long time figuring out how to do it.

“Our data had indicated that money transfer is the top service being utilised as it can be made by account holders to anyone, even to non-MAB customers,” he said.

More electronic services would be launched in the near future, he said.

Among services provided by banks now are phone top-ups, bill payments and payments for air and cinema tickets.

 

Source: Eleven Myanmar

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