As I read about the Bank of Kigali SMS banking option starting soon, I could not help but feel a sense of relief. In this hi-tech world, SMS has become the driving force. Whether it is a business meeting, or a friendly wish, or any important communication, SMS is the answer.
Remote Banking is one of the most important modern banking services today; it enables the customer to make payments from any place in the world and at any time via a PC, fixed or mobile phone.
Presently, the worldwide use of electronic banking is increasing as more and more users sign up for the service. According to the Euronet Mobile Banking Guide, there are currently close to 400 mobile operators in over 133 countries who are signing up 4 to 6 new customers every second. This shows that more people are going mobile like never before.
With electronic banking, users can now conveniently carry out banking transactions but this can’t be achieved if the user does not have access to the internet.
The user cannot carry out a banking transaction while waiting for a bus or while having lunch in a restaurant.
However, with SMS banking, convenience is achieved, 24hrs a day. This is because the bank customer has access to his mobile phone all day, at all times.
Therefore, to effectively achieve a truly convenient banking mode in a country like Rwanda, a truly mobile mode of banking has to be explored, hence the need for SMS Banking.
SMS Banking is mobile phone technology that allows you to request and receive banking information from your bank on your mobile phone via Short message service (SMS).
Individuals or corporate bodies can manage their bank accounts, check their account balances, perform check requests, money transfers, pay some bills, and perform other banking transactions using their mobile phones. This is possible through two particular distinctive services: Pull and push devices.
With Pull service, one can through SMS make balance inquiry check, e-payment options, stop payment requests, deactivation a credit cards or debit cards (in case of emergencies such as theft or loss).
On the other hand Push services will help with insufficient funds notification, large or small withdrawals from ATMs’, cheque payments, password authentication and credit card notifications (all purchases made using credit or debit cards are immediately intimated to the customer).
SMS has now become a legitimate marketing technique because of its easy accessibility, less time-consuming factor. This mode of communication is cheaper compared to other channels.
The telecommunications industry worldwide has scrambled to bring what is available to networked computers to mobile devices
The increased use of mobile phones because of its user friendliness has made this possible. The compatibility of mobile phones has also enabled the financial services to reach their customers as and when required.
Though internet banking has broader functionalities, it is limited to users who have access to computers and internet connection.
SMS alerts, like fraud and abnormal transaction, are less time consuming compared to other mediums of communication such as tele-calling, mailing, etc.
Another overriding factor why the banking sector widely uses this technology is because it requires less human resources.
Emmanuel Nyagapfizi is a Management Information Systems manager