Sri Lanka’s development-oriented commercial bank, National Development Bank PLC (NDB) recently launched its next generation of digitally-enabled mobile banking platform – ‘Shake-Banking’ – which offers many industry firsts, officials from the bank said.
“We have invested heavily on our digital journey and this is the first part of that journey where we are rolling out our mobile banking,” said the bank’s Retail Banking Vice President Darshana Ratnayake without disclosing its financial commitment.
NDB is the latest entrant into the fastest trending mobile banking sphere in Sri Lanka but its attractive features will undoubtedly woo many customers into the bank while the competitors will have to rethink their models to either match or beat the product.
The mobile app will also enable the bank to attract the much-needed low-cost funds – current and savings accounts (CASA) – into the bank as the features will entice the retail and small and medium enterprise (SME) clients the most.
CASA is one of three key indicators the bank’s Chief Executive Officer Rajendra Theagarajah monitors in his fight against narrowing margins among increasing fee-based incomes-to-net interest income and lowering cost-to-income ratio being the other two. Among the unique features is the easiest on boarding to the app without having to register via filling forms and visiting branches. Instead, the customer can use his/her existing user ID and password of the debit card, credit card or the Internet banking to complete the registration.
The app is available on Android, Apple iOS and Windows.
“This is the first mobile banking facility developed by any bank that the customers can get themselves on boarded without filling forms, without going to a branch, without having to go through the hassle of getting your own user ID and password,” Ratnayake told an investor forum held last week.
Meanwhile, for those who do not have any of the above facilities – pass book account holders – too could get themselves on boarded the state-of-the-art mobile app by stepping in to an NDB branch.
In order to make it easier for a customer to locate a closest branch, the app is connected to Google maps – the first bank to connect its branches and ATMs to Google maps, he added.
Another enticer of the app is that the smartphone shows all the latest offers and discounts offered by the bank’s credit cards for the day whenever the phone is shaken even before the account is logged in.
Further, if the customer shakes his/her phone while logged in, it displays the balances of all your accounts – which probably the reason to brand the product as ‘Shake-Banking’. Probably the biggest hassle-free feature of the app is that it could transfer funds between NDB account holders using only the beneficiary’s mobile number, the feature which is called ‘Pay-To-Mobile’.
“If an NDB customer wants to send money to another NDB customer, I don’t need to know the beneficiary’s account number. I just need to use the beneficiary’s phone number from my phone number list and I transfer money to that person as his phone number is linked to his account and goes straight to his primary account,” Ratnayake explained. Meanwhile, the fund transfers to the third party accounts are also made through a soft token. This also takes away the hassle of having to remember more than one password in making third party transfers.
“What that means is, one time password is pushed from the centre through our registered phone number (which) you need to use to effect the transfer. That means, you don’t have to carry a token or remember another pin,” he remarked. Further the app user can top up his/her phone – pre-paid or post-paid –through the app once the number is registered, again through a self-registration process via the app itself, a sensible value addition. Furthermore, the NDB mobile app has the ability to settle other banks’ credit cards which is available through competitor apps too. “For me the best feature of this mobile app is the ability to switch on and off you debit or credit cards,” This is because even if someone’s debit or credit card is stolen with the pin number, nobody can use the card as you have blocked your card/s via the app,” Ratnayake added.
NDB has also broken the conventional method of calling the card centre to activate the new card as the activation is made possible via the app.
Besides the above, the app also enables the user to monitor the online balance of the credit card/s and also make utility bill payments via the mobile app.