Securing mobile banking for the ‘unbanked’

Last updated: 19 March 2014

On this blog we often write about NFC technology, mobile payments and the latest technologies using smartphones and digital security to empower our everyday lives. A lot of the time, these innovations and technological advances relate to more developed regions, whether North America, Europe, the Middle East or Asian countries such as South Korea and Singapore.

That’s not to say there aren’t technological feats to be applauded in emerging regions, for example the major success story of M-Pesa, the most developed mobile payment system in the world operated by Safaricom and Vodacom in Kenya and Tanzania. At a time when a large proportion of the global population doesn’t have access to banking services, M-Pesa enables users with a national ID card or passport to deposit, withdraw and transfer money easily with a mobile device. As our CEO, Olivier Piou, said in a recent interview “in developing countries, mobile money is changing the lives of “unbanked” people”

We have been working closely with Smart Aplikasi Indonesia to boost the microbanking market in Indonesia and are now helping Dipon Consultancy Services in Bangladesh to provide secure access to banking services for people with limited or no access to banking services in both rural and urban areas.

Where this specific solution differs to others, including M-Pesa, however, is that our solution is helping overcome issues such as illiteracy while encouraging digital adoption. Our smart cards have an embedded software application that securely stores the holder’s facial image and fingerprint data captured upon enrollment. End user transactions are authorized using biometric authentication, making it both convenient and secure.

There is still plenty more to do before we can claim a fully ‘banked’ global population. Security will always be a priority but, as ever, it’s striking the balance between security and convenience that will drive adoption levels around the world.