Dial `m' for... banking

Published February 26th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Banking in Jordan is expected to get easier with the introduction of mobile telephone banking services, a major software corporation announced on Thursday, February 22. Access to Arabia and Microsoft have teamed up to offer mBanking—or mobile banking—to the Housing Bank for Trade and Finance and the Jordan Kuwait Bank. The banks are the first to offer bilingual Arabic/English mobile banking service in the Middle East.  


The service relies on wireless application protocol (WAP), an emerging industry standard which allows organizations to provide Internet information services to mobile wireless devices. WAP enabled mobiles will allow customers to conduct balance enquiries, change their passwords, order cheque books, request account statements, process bills, block ATM cards, as well as querying currency and interest rates through the new system.  


"Jordan is approaching a new era of technology adoption and customers are becoming increasingly technology-aware," said Omar Khouri, chairman of Access to Arabia. "Mobile banking may be in its early stages but it's a benefit that customers are prepared to use today and so will prove to be a significant competitive advantage in the future," he added. Jordan Kuwait Bank General Manager Mohammed Yaser Asmar said the bank's "customers will be able to enjoy the convenience of being able to use the bank services of any branch at the touch of a button on their mobile phone."  


The Housing Bank for Trade and Finance General Manager Abdul Khader Dweik said the bank had already invested "heavily" in new technology and "has reached a point where all its banking activities are automated. Now we have the opportunity to again set new standards with the latest technology via our new mobile banking services."  


Microsoft announced this initiative during its Financial Services Forum, which is part of its travelling exhibition series aimed at raising the profile of the company and its IT partners in the region. Thursday's forum was geared specifically towards the banking sector after Wednesday's successful OpenDoor event targeted the general public.  


Organizers believe nearly 500 people compared to last year's attendance of around 200 shows the growing presence and expertise of Jordan's IT sector. Financial Services Forum 2001, intended to showcase Microsoft's .Net industry strategy was held in conjunction with partners FileNET, ECM2, Fujitsu Siemens and Veritas. — ( Jordan Times )  


By Owen Clegg  

© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)

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