Commonwealth Bank taps m-banking market

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Commonwealth Bank Indonesia, a subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, is tapping into growing mobile banking market in the country, benefiting the increasing number of middle-class people in the largest economy in Southeast Asia.

‘Up to 80% of [the Indonesian] population is less than 40 years old, 35% of whom use social media. If you look at the way people interact and travel in Indonesia, mobile is the key part of that,’ Commonwealth Bank director of retail and business banking, Ian Phillip Whitehead, said speaking in Singapore. ‘Indonesia is the biggest users of BlackBerry outside Canada and the world’s top users of Facebook and Twitter. That segment is very crucial,’ he added.

Since the bank launched its mobile banking services in Indonesia in June 2011, out of 150,000 customers, 20,000 customers have downloaded Commonwealth Bank mobile banking applications, which are available in BlackBerry and iPhone platforms.

‘Of that 20,000 customers, 7,500 are active users of our mobile banking platforms,’ Whitehead said, adding that 35% of its total customers also use the bank’s internet banking services. The Commonwealth Bank’s mobile banking applications have also shifted its customers’ habit in banking.

‘Before the mobile banking services, customers’ transactions peaked only during lunch time. After mobile banking, the number of transactions was also high before and after lunch time,’ he said without elaborating on the details.

The bank’s mobile banking applications offer all features that are available in its internet banking service, such as internal and external money transfer, as well as investment.

‘Users can purchase mutual funds through the mobile banking application,’ Whitehead said as an example.

Commonwealth Bank chief information officer Johmar Gazo said that the mobile banking services were the replica of its Internet banking services. ‘Basically, our mobile banking services offer all features that our Internet banking services offer,’ Gazo said. The bank aims to increase its number of mobile banking applications users. ‘Our target is that 100% of our Internet banking users will use our mobile banking services too, by the end of this year,’ Whitehead said.