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MEPS to redraw mobile banking map

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-Business Times-

THE Malaysian Electronic Payment System Sdn Bhd (MEPS), best known for its interbank automated teller machines (ATM) withdrawal service, is working on transforming mobile banking.

This means that it will develop a system where every bank and telecommunication company (telco) in the country will be linked up.

Group managing director Mohd Suhail Amar Suresh said the adoption of mobile banking is now limited as banks do not tie up with all telco companies.

“MEPS is developing a mobile banking platform that is multi-telco and multi-bank,” Mohd Suhail said.

According to statistics, as at June 2010, there were 33.4 million registered mobile phone users but only 773,800 mobile banking subscribers.

But recent data show a huge potential for mobile banking services with the growing popularity of smartphones, which allow users to be easily connected to the Internet.

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Research firm GfK Malaysia said 7.5 million mobiles phones were sold in Malaysia last year and the value of smartphone sales made up 72 per cent of the RM4.5 billion pie.

The move by MEPS will also help banks and telcos save on the constant cost of system upgrades as the mobile banking technology is evolving rapidly.

Assuming that banks will need to invest some RM5 million each to set up their own mobile banking platform, such a centralised platform could potentially save the financial industry some RM125 million.

MEPS’ mobile banking platform will offer both banks and telcos a channel to serve their customers better or an alternative channel at customers’ finger tips.

Moreover, financial institutions without their own mobile banking service will be able to use MEPS while retaining the ability to brand the system as their own.

Mohd Suhail expects the integration to be completed by the second quarter of this year.

“As the service gains popularity among customers, we expect users to grow between 100 per cent and 150 per cent after the first two years and continue to grow at an even higher rate over five years thereafter,” he said.

When asked why it is looking at mobile banking when Internet banking is available, Mohd Suhail said that this is just to give an alternate avenue to conduct banking on the go.

MEPS is owned by 12 local banks.

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