SAP AG (SAP) today announced that U Microfinance Bank Limited (UBank) has attracted more than 17,000 registered accounts for its first mobile banking initiative, Upaisa, powered by the SAP® Mobile Inclusive Banking solution.
Upaisa has enabled customers across 210 cities in Pakistan, via a network of more than 15,000 agents, to conveniently access banking services on-the-go via mobile devices, and in the six months since its launch, from July to December 2013, it processed 2.4 million transactions for a value of more than Rs. 11.1 billion, or US$106 million. The announcement was made at Mobile World Congress 2014, being held February 24-27 in Barcelona, Spain.
In Pakistan, 63 percent of the population has a mobile device but only 10 percent have a bank account. This leaves people without access to basic financial services such as remittances, bill payments and savings, or forces them to use less desirable options that are expensive and inconvenient. Upaisa now enables anyone in Pakistan to safely and conveniently transfer funds, pay utility bills, deposit and withdraw cash and check account information from a mobile phone. Customers can access a large network of retail outlets and a wide range of innovative financial services, and can use the mobile platform to develop savings habits, transfer and pay for goods and services in a more convenient and reliable environment, as well as establish a banking relationship that can lead to access to credit services.
"The country's high mobile penetration rates create an opportunity to drive financial inclusion for everyone, including the lower and middle income segments of the population, so that they can gain access to financial services anytime and anywhere from basic mobile devices," said Arif Sirhindi, CEO, UBank. "We selected SAP because SAP Mobile Inclusive Banking allowed us to offer a previously inaccessible population formal financial services cost effectively, and allowed our customers to establish a banking relationship in a more convenient and reliable way."
Upaisa was launched commercially in July 2013 and won the "Best Bank-Led Mobile Money Programme" award at the Mobile Money Global Awards 2013, held in November in Dubai. SAP Mobile Inclusive Banking enables UBank to create new services collaborating with Ufone consumer products and retail enterprises. Ubank's specific configuration of the SAP Mobile Inclusive Banking solution enables the financial institution to offer cash in and cash out integration with the bank's ATM, kiosk and agent network, as well as support for USSD/SMS.
"SAP Mobile Inclusive Banking allows UBank under the brand of Upaisa to extend its financial reach to new segments of the population that were previously unbanked," said Matthew Talbot, head of Mobile, SAP APJ. "The solution has enabled UBank to offer mobile-driven financial services to customers in Pakistan through an agent network enabled by basic feature phones, smart phones and online portals. UBank is now able to manage 'low value' accounts cost-effectively and expand its B2B business portfolio by servicing mobile money solutions to mobile network operators, consumer product and retail companies."
With the launch of Upaisa, UBank partnered with Pakistani cellular service company Ufone to establish a network of more than 15,000 agents that help open new accounts, provide customer service and enable cash in and cash out functionality. Upaisa helps secure and authenticate customer transactions through use of their MPIN, and transactions can only be initiated from their registered MSISDN. Additionally, with the launch of the mobile branchless banking service, for the first time in Pakistan customers will be offered debit cards linked to their mobile accounts in partnership with China Union Pay. Customers will have the ability to access their mobile bank accounts not only through an agent network, but also at ATMs throughout Pakistan.
"Since Upaisa's deployment last July, UBank has created a socially responsible solution that benefits Pakistan's community and economy and has increased Upaisa's customer base, leading to more deposits and additional fee revenue, as well as establishing customer relationships that will grow in value over time," said Talbot.