Smart powers KSA based-NCB Quick Pay Remittance Service
Award-winning Smart Money platform enables largest bank of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to offer new remittance service to migrant workers
[March 3, 2008/ Philippines] - Leading wireless service provider, Smart Communications, Inc. (SMART) has partnered with National Commercial Bank (NCB), the largest bank in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and in the entire Middle East, to jointly launch an international remittance service utilizing the Smart Money platform.
The Quick Pay Remittance Service, NCB’s remittance offering, will utilize Smart Money as the beneficiary account for funds sent to the Philippines, providing a convenient, secure and cost-effective remittance alternative for over 1.2 million Filipinos in Saudi Arabia.
KSA-based Filipinos may send funds directly to their beneficiary’s Smart Money account through NCB’s various Quick Pay Remittance Service channels—phone banking, internet banking (Alahli Online), remittance centers, cash deposit machines, over-the-counter transactions at any of NCB’s 266 branches, and fund transfers via the Bank’s more than 1,000 Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).
To do so, the KSA-based sender simply has to indicate the Smart Money account number as the beneficiary account of the remittance. Transfer of funds will then commence at the speed and convenience of a text message.
Funds from the successful cash transfer to the receiving Smart Money account may be withdrawn from over 7,000 ATMs in the Philippines, more than 100 Smart Wireless Centers and thousands of third-party Smart Money fulfillment partners across the country.
The channels are open to all NCB account holders. Non-account holders may opt to send funds via NCB’s remittance centers in Saudi Arabia.
NCB is the largest bank in terms of capital in the region with total assets amounting to SR208.7 billion (US$55.7 billion) and total paid-up capital of SR15.0 billion (US$4.0 billion). As of yearend 2007, NCB’s total customers surpassed the 2-million mark, approximately 15 percent of which is comprised of Filipino payroll accounts.
“The exclusive business partnership between Smart and NCB for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is very strategic as it boosts Smart’s efforts to offer mobile money transfer services in various regions of the world particularly in the Middle East where there are large numbers of Filipinos,” Napoleon L. Nazareno, Smart President and CEO stated. “By tapping our award-winning Smart Money platform, recognized globally by the GSM Association and Mastercard Worldwide, NCB can now offer quick, convenient and secure remittance services to the growing market of migrant workers,” he added.
Smarter remittance service
Smart, which has been actively promoting mobile commerce in the Philippines since 2000, will provide the technology platform for NCB’s Quick Pay Remittance Service through the Smart Money Platform. Smart Money is the world’s first reloadable electronic wallet card linked to a mobile phone.
Through Smart Money, overseas Filipinos may send remittances to their loved ones in the Philippines, all at the speed of text message. Beneficiaries of the remittance will likewise be informed of the safe and speedy delivery of funds via an SMS notification to their Smart mobile phones.
“We are confident that the NCB Quick Pay remittance service via the Smart Money platform will ultimately become the primary conduit of Filipino migrant workers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in sending money to their loved ones. Initially, this will be available to Filipino migrant workers sending to Philippines, but will eventually be available to other nationalities sending money to their respective beneficiary-countries. This is indeed the remittance service of the future that we are making available today,” Omar M. Hashem, NCB Head of Remittance and Mobile Payments emphasized.
“This introduction of Smart Money to the Saudi Arabia-Philippines remittance corridor will be a boon for Filipinos living and working in the Kingdom. Now, Filipinos in all parts of Saudi Arabia may enjoy a remittance service that is so convenient and easy to use,” said Orlando B. Vea, Smart Chief Wireless Adviser.
To enable beneficiaries to enjoy the full advantages and features of Smart Money’s SIM-based solutions, Smart is giving away free Smart Buddy SIMs upon purchase of P30.00 worth of e-load. Beneficiaries may also individually apply for, and claim their free Smart Money cards through any of the Smart Wireless Centers in the Philippines. The linkage between Smart Money accounts and Smart mobile phones will enable beneficiaries to receive real-time SMS notifications once funds have been transferred to their accounts.
“Having established our working remittance relationship, we encourage our partners in the business to actively support NCB’s marketing efforts to reach and promote Quick Pay services to its intended audience—the overseas Filipinos,’ said Emad R. Dafterdar, Manager, NCB Business and Products Development, Remittance and Mobile Payments.
“It is important to note that our mobile commerce platform has been designed to work closely with banks and financial institutions. The partnerships we have established with the country’s leading banks and the three ATM consortia in the Philippines provide assurances that the necessary system safeguards are in place, and that the Anti-money Laundering Act (AMLA) standards and procedures are complied with,” Nazareno added.
Aside from Banco de Oro, there are four other major banks which are being powered by Smart Money, currently in various stages of development. These include Land Bank of the Philippines, China Banking Corporation, Rizal Commercial Bank Corporation, and Development Bank of the Philippines.
About Smart Communications, Inc.
Smart Communications, Inc. is the Philippines' leading wireless services provider with over 30 million subscribers on its GSM network as of December 2007. Of its total subscriber base, over 20 million subscribers are served under the brands Smart Buddy, Smart Gold and Smart Infinity. In addition, over 9 million subscribers are served through its subsidiary, Pilipino Telephone Corp., under the brand Talk 'N Text.
Smart has built a reputation for innovation, having introduced world-first wireless data services, including mobile commerce services such as Smart Load and Smart Padala and Smart Money. Smart Money won the 2001 3GSM Award for “Most Innovative GSM Wireless Service for Customers.” It was also cited as the “Best Product Innovation” award at the MasterCard Awards in Australia.
Smart also offers a 3G service, Smart 3G. Smart’s subsidiary, Smart Broadband, Inc. offers the revolutionary high-speed wireless broadband Internet service, Smart Bro. Smart is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Philippines' leading telecommunications carrier, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company. For more information, visit www.smart.com.ph.
About National Commercial Bank
The National Commercial Bank is the most prominent of Saudi banks and was the first bank established in Saudi Arabia. The NCB is the largest bank in terms of capital in the Arab world. The Bank’s paid-up capital at yearend of 2007 is SR15.0 billion (US$4.0 billion). Total assets at yearend 2007 totaled SR208.7 billion (US$55.7 billion) Net profit for fiscal year 2007 totaled SR6.0 billion (US$1.6 billion). Shareholders’ equity at yearend 2007 totaled SR 28.2 billion (US$ 7.5 billion) while return on average Shareholder’s equity for fiscal year 2007 amounted to 23.1%. The credit rating of the Bank has increased to A by Fitch Agency and A+ by Standard and Poor’s.
At yearend 2007, the Bank has operated 266 branches throughout the Kingdom, dedicated exclusively to Islamic Banking services. At yearend 2007, the Bank’s customers had surpassed 2 million clients with total bank manpower of 5,412, of which 86.07% are Saudis. The Bank has a network of 1,184 Automated Teller Machines and 10,750 Point-of -Sale Terminals. The Bank operates a total of two international branches located in Beirut and Bahrain, and a total of three representative offices in London, Seoul, and Singapore. The Bank is the biggest Financial Asset Manager in the Arab region and it is the first to offer mutual funds in the Kingdom. For more information, visit www.alahli.com.