NCB (National Commercial Bank) is truly looking towards the future of Banking in every way possible.
I know this as I was invite to attend the inaugural NCB Digital Tech Symposium at the Terra Nova Hotel on Wednesday April 20th 2016. Several FinTech (Financial Technology) contractors had their product on display that hinted to what’s next in the banking world.
Most of my readers already have a fairly good idea of what that might be as mobile money in the form of CONEC Mobile Wallet, formerly known as JCUES (Jamaica Credit Union e-Payment Services) as detailed in JCUES Mobile Money brings Cashless Society to the Unbanked as NCB debuts Cheque munching ATM Machine.
What you might not know is that some of the technologies being delayed in the banks in the US of A may be coming to Jamaica via NCB. That includes ABM that use more secure biometric identification for of authentication Mobile money products to headless ABM (Automated banking Machines) as described in How US Banks upgrading to Cashless ATM as Jamaica dances with Mobile Money.
But what if I told you the tech might be a lot simpler that smartphones and may be coming to a cell phone near you?
NCB Digital Tech Symposium – NCB Managers and staff listening to the latest Tech in Banking
But back to the NCB Digital Tech Symposium. Being as this is NCB and I got the tip-off on such short notice, I wasn’t exactly dressed to fit in; straight jeans and fitted style was my mantra as I strolled in at 10 a.m.
But I came to cover the event anyway and I glad I did, as the NCB ladies in their white baby doll dresses emblazoned with the bright gold and blue NCB logos assured me that not all events representatives are taller than me.
No pass was available but no problem, as I was ushered into the NCB Digital Tech Symposium, which had started from 8:00 a.m. and was slated to last the entire day. Seven seater tables set with 7 white cotton coloured cloth tables and baroque period chandeliers under an air-conditioned tent in the Terra Nova hotel courtyard made me realize that NCB was trying had to look cool, edgy and tech while maintaining a semi-professional banking feel.
The stage was also dolled up with three jumbo screens and two satin couches with Persian pillows to make the presenters comfortable for the brief 30 minute presentations that were slated to follow.
Makes sense, as half of the people in the audience were NCB Managers and staff, with the Gleaner and other members of the press set to arrive at 1 p.m. So I took my seat and began to listen to the presentations.
There were many presentations in what looked to be a fairly long day, as lunch and breakfast was on the agenda.
Lenddo, a Social media peer-to-peer lender, promised to loan you money if your Social media platform indicated that you’re trustworthy enough to lend money; a clever idea requiring that you have to have a social media presence in the first place.
A few of them were copies of old ideas, like Infosys’ ProximityPayEdge, which was basically digital storefronts that copy Amazon’s mojo. There was also Newgens’ Mobility Platform that allows you to create custom apps from a common template similar to how WordPress websites are created, something Developers might not like but MSME’s on a budget would love.
I was soon enthralled by three presentations that stood out from the silicon Valle wannabees as they were truly innovative.
Intelligent Multimedia Limited SocialFiJa – Free Wi-Fi that generates Social Media Followers for your Business
The first one was a presentation on by Andrew Pairman from Intelligent Multimedia Limited on this really cool concept called SocialFi, which is basically converts your Wi-Fi into a marketing tool as explained on their Facebook Page.
MSME (Micro small and Medium Enterprises) can offer free Wi-Fi but with a catch; the customer has to login using their social media credentials such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat to access the free Wi-Fi. They are then directed to your Facebook page and other Social media pages, which they have to like in order to get free Wi-Fi as per their brochures at their booth.
The genius of this product is that it not only builds social media followers but allows the company to market products to them directly by having them follow them on social media.
Interestingly too, any MSME that partners with Intelligent Multimedia Limited to deploy SocialFi benefits via access to analytics that allows them to track the levels of engagement and parse through data on their newfound followers and how often they use their free Wi-Fi.
SocialFi also holds the potential of being able to display the same traditional advertising as Intelligent Multimedia Limited normally runs on their HDTV screens that companies are paid a host in their business, the most likely business models for this product.
Massy Tech and NCR iABM – A Call Center and an ATM Network had a baby
Massy Tech partnered with NCR to debut their iABM solution for ABM. It caught my eye because it’s basically an ABM with a Video Camera, something that the forgetful millennial generation will love.
The premise is that your ABM has become more impersonal. So by adding a video Camera and the speaker, you can conduct your transaction via having a teller, most likely a trained customer care representative, authenticate you based on your Government identification such as passport, driver’s licence, Voter’s ID or even just you face! So leaving behind your Debit or Credit Card won’t even you from being able to get your money.
Best of all, like NCB’s money and cheque reading ATM (Automated Teller Machines), it does cheques as well as cash, making going to the ATM not much different than going to the bank. Too bad that this may mean that Banks will still have to lay off staff, but at least the iABM makes banking more personal again.
NCR’s solution can also handle future tech such as Mobile Money transactions as well. With some 3.4 million ATM’s worldwide projected for 2018 and 19% of them in the Caribbean and Latin America, this technology can openly increase the number of ATM installed worldwide.
Especially as fewer and fewer people go directly to the bank to do transactions as noted in How US Banks upgrading to Cashless ATM as Jamaica dances with Mobile Money as FinTech marches on.
Quisk and AIS Mobile Money Solution – How Feature phones can become Mobile Wallets
Perhaps by far the most innovative product of the day was Silicon Valley based Quisk and AIS Mobile Money Solution. I was actually invited by Quisk CEO and Chairman Steve Novak, who invited by via telephone to the NCB Digital Tech Symposium.
The idea behinds his Sunnydale, California company partnering with AIS (Advanced Integrated Systems) is a mobile Wallet based on using your cellphone number and an assigned PIN number to make financial transactions. AIS provides the technical hardware and software support for Quisk Mobile money product in Jamaica and they were also on hand to display their innovative products to members of the public.
The Quisk Mobile Money Platform interconnects customers and their mobile phones to e-commerce, Banks and Retails POS terminals to make using your cellphone in lieu of cash a reality. Your cellphone number via their cloud platforms is enabled to perform the following transactions:
- Mobile Top up
- Bill Payment
- In-Store Retail
- International Remittance
- P2P and Mass B2P transfers
- Micro Finance
- Mobile Ticketing
- Cash in and Out
All that’s involved to set up an account it to have a bank account and a cellphone, which needn’t be a smartphone. Once it can send text, you can use the Quisk Mobile Money Platform to link your bank account, be if NCB, Scotia Bank or any other Bank to your mobile number.
You’re then assigned a PIN number which you can use to do the above transactions…..all from your feature phone as no app on a smartphone is required!
Currently, Quisk is restricted to P2P (Peer-to-peer) transfers and buying Mobile Top up. More advanced transactions such as e-commerce, Bill Payment and In-Store Retail will require BOJ (Bank of Jamaica) approval, as concerns over money laundering and scamming make the process a slow one.
But with the potential to link the unbanked who may be the same persons receiving some US$2 billion in remittances per year in Jamaica, Quisk and AIS solution is a strong contender for bridging the digital divide in Jamaica.
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