Al Khaliji Commercial Bank is a new bank launched in Qatar in 2008. The Qatar Central Bank requires all retail banks to provide SMS confirmations and advices whenever a banking transaction or event takes place. Because of this, Al Khaliji wanted to build on the mobile messaging infrastructure to provide two way SMS communication and transaction capabilities, and SMS and MMS marketing capabilities in multiple languages.
Al Khaliji has created a new SMS banking service (not to be confused with ‘mobile banking'), where all banking activity can be accessed by sending or receiving standard SMS messages. It removes the need for customers to have mobile internet access or host banking applications on the handset itself.
Al Khaliji uses message master xsp from Derdack to securely communicate with customers and integrate with its core banking and call centre systems. Message master xsp acts as a gateway to the mobile operators and manages the bank's SMS communications. Customers define a language preference and Al Khaliji uniquely provides SMS confirmations in English, Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and French thus bringing these services to the widest possible market.
Whenever there is a banking event, such as a credit, debit or ATM withdrawal, an SMS confirmation is automatically generated and sent by message master xsp to the customer. By confirming each element of account activity suspicious transactions can be immediately queried thus minimising the risk of fraud.
The bank uses the highest levels of encryption to ensure its SMS communications are completely secure. This allows the bank to issue critical information such as activation codes for ATM cards by SMS. Once a customer has received a secure SMS with an activation code, they can visit an ATM to enter this code, which instantly activates the card. This is particularly useful where a new account has been opened and the customer is able to start using the card without delay.
Al Khaliji also uses message master xsp to provide 'push and pull' bulk SMS services. When promoting new products or communicating a fraud alert, the bank can 'push' an SMS out to every customer. Customers can also 'pull' information such as an account balance query into their mobile devices by sending an SMS request to the bank.
The bank can also use multi-media messages (MMS) within campaigns to provide rich content such as pictures, video and audio files. For all marketing campaigns, the solution provides full reporting on delivery rates, real-time tracking and other detailed statistics. Inbound customer SMS replies are automatically processed and routed internally to the call centre, where an operator can action the request.
Finextra verdict: For markets where SMS/MMS usage is high among the general population, it can prove a great channel for combining anti-fraud measures, basic financial transactions, and actionable, personalised marketing. Al Khaliji and Derdack have demonstrated how a bank can manage these aspects of customer relationship management effectively from a single messaging gateway.