Banking becomes mobile

Trinidad - Imagine... being able to access bank balances and other account information – all from your mobile phone.

This is mobile banking and a partnership among bmobile, First Citizens Bank and Teleios is making it possible right here in Trinidad and Tobago.

TSTT's Vice President, Legal and Regulatory, Lisa Agard, predicts that this will become the way banking is done in Trinidad and Tobago.

“Mobile banking is quite important and innovative. It is a reflection of where the world is moving in terms of convergence. The handset is becoming the single instrument to facilitate a number of transactions,” says Agard.

Warren Sookdar, Chief Information Officer at First Citizens’ information and Communication Technology department is not only excited but confident that the banks’ partnership with TSTT will change the way the public thinks about banking transactions. He says the relationship between FCB and TSTT, as well as global trends, informed the bank’s decision to steer his organisation’s development in the direction of mobile banking.

Why mobile banking? Sookdar points to what he calls the “ubiquity” of the mobile phone in Trinidad and Tobago, “There are one point three million people in this country and there are one point eight million cell phones”. Mobile phones are the most accessible and reliable way to introduce the bank’s customers to new services.

Taking into account the skeptics of those who may think that mobile banking is only for the more tech savvy among us, Sookdar says, “The beauty of mobile banking is that you do not need to have a smart phone to use our services. Even someone with a handset that has basic features can access our service. You will be surprised at what your phone can do. ”

He explains that the mobile banking platform is built on the short message service and not the Internet. Users who are not yet familiar or comfortable with mobile broadband can still check account balance and make payments. Agard assures that network capacity has been upgraded to facilitate the new service and will be regularly reviewed and upgraded where necessary.

She continues that mobile banking is extremely secure, with bmobile using the very latest encryption technology. FCB also has additional security systems to protect customers’ financial information.

Mobile banking is not just for the corporate customer. Anyone with a mobile handset and a First Citizens Bank account will be able to access information via SMS on their account balances, cheque clearances and even possible fraudulent activity.

Agard says this is just the first phase and adds that the company is working with its partners to establish later this year, additional features that allow customers to purchase consumer items using their phone as a virtual wallet.