Dialog Axiata yesterday announced the launch of the country’s first mobile money service after being awarded a license from the Central Bank under the aegis of the Payments and Settlements Act No 28 of 2005. Custodial banking services for Sri Lanka’s pioneering mobile money service will be provided by Hatton National Bank PLC.
Mobile money technology introduced by Dialog under the brand name, eZ Cash, enables mobile subscribers to maintain a mobile money account in their mobile phone. Using their eZ Cash mobile money account, customers can now send and receive money to/from more than 7.5 million Dialog mobile users, settle utility bills and make payments for other goods and services, direct from their mobile phone.
"We are privileged to have the opportunity to lead Sri Lanka’s mobile industry in to the era of Mobile Money – an era which will see the mobile phone become a versatile cash transacting and payment instrument," said Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya Director and Group Chief Executive of Dialog Axiata PLC. "Mobile Money technology will transform the way we transact cash and will enable electronic money interchange and electronic payments to be brought within the reach of every Sri Lankan citizen. The dawn of the Mobile Money era in Sri Lanka has been made possible by the progressive, and financial inclusion focused, regulatory ethos of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. In this respect Sri Lanka’s Payments and Settlement
Legislation and Mobile Payment regulations stand among the most progressive in the world. Emboldened by the support and facilitation received from the Central Bank, Telecommunications Regulatory Commission and our Custodian Bank HNB, we are confident that this pioneering initiative to deliver a nationwide Mobile Money service will deliver an unprecedented level of Financial Inclusion through the empowerment of millions of Sri Lankan citizens with electronic money transfer and payment facilities" Dr. Wijayasuriya added.
"Achieving Financial Inclusion through progressive regulation and innovation has been a principal and consistent ethos of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka," said Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. "Accordingly, the Mobile Payment regulations and associated enabling environment established by the CBSL has been designed to extend the benefits of sending and receiving money and electronic payment via a mobile phone to all segments of society. Over the past decade, the mobile phone has no doubt transformed the lives of millions of Sri Lankan citizens from across all parts of the country. Now with the facility to transfer money and make payments direct from the mobile phone, a vast majority of our population would be further empowered with the power and efficacy of electronic transactions. It gives me great pleasure to see that Dialog, Sri Lanka’s leading mobile operator has risen to the challenge of bringing this product to the market, building on the enabling environment established under the aegis of the Payments and Settlements Act. It is also heartening to see the innovation drive of the Banking and Telecommunication sectors come together to further the common cause of citizen empowerment and financial inclusion, with HNB playing the role of the Custodian Bank and Deutsche Bank acting as the Trustee for Sri Lanka’s first Mobile Money Service".
With the launch of Dialog’s Mobile Money service – eZ Cash, over 7.5 million Dialog Mobile users will be able to register for an eZ Cash account by simply dialing #111# from their mobile phone. A registered eZ Cash subscriber can then load money in to his/her mobile phone at any one of over 10,000 eZ Cash outlets across Sri Lanka. Loading money would also be made possible at supermarkets and via bank branches, ATMs and Internet & Phone Banking services of Sri Lanka’s leading banking institutions. Sending and receiving money between eZ Cash accounts as well as making payments for goods, services and utilities and for the purchase of items over the Internet, is then as simple as sending an SMS with the aid of an user-friendly and tri-lingual menu on the mobile phone. While advanced mobile money technology has made transacting cash from a mobile phone simple to use, every transaction is protected by a subscriber defined PIN Number and secured by 3DES authentication and transaction Security protocols.
Recently Dialog became the first Licensed Electronic Payments provider in Sri Lanka to receive Payment Cards Industry – Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) certification for the compliance of its electronic payments systems with the global standard. Customers of the service can also withdraw money from their eZ Cash accounts at over 10,000 eZ Cash outlets, which in combine with the 7.5 Million strong Dialog mobile user base makes the eZ Cash Network, the largest money interchange network in the country.
"We are pleased to see that our efforts towards making Mobile Telephony services available and affordable to all have contributed in no small manner to the enhancement of the quality of life of Sri Lankans" said Mr. Anusha Palpita, Director - General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL).
He further said that "the use of the mobile phone to send and receive money and engage in transactions with the broader retail and enterprise sectors of the economy, has increased efficiency and expedited the time taken to conclude a business transaction thereby giving a big boost to the national economy".
"We must record our appreciation of the Central Bank for its far sighted vision and efforts in developing the necessary enabling regulations thus making it possible for mobile phone based electronic transactions to be conducted in Sri Lanka, and in turn delivering a wide range of benefits to the people of this country. We must further register our appreciation of the contribution made by Dialog in directing its innovative capability to develop a service which constitutes another noteworthy landmark as we move ahead on the road towards embracing cutting edge mobile communications," Palpita added.
Sri Lanka’s pioneering mobile money service is characterized by the convergence of the Service Delivery and Customer Protection paradigms of the Banking and Telecommunications sectors under the aegis of Mobile Payment Systems regulations and the Payment and Settlements Act. In this context the Custodian Bank is defined to play a pivotal role within the Mobile Payment System, including but not limited to assuring the safe custody of all mobile money account balances and the ongoing conformance with key edicts of the Banking Act and associated regulations stipulated by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
Rajendra Theagarajah, Chief Executive Officer at Hatton National Bank speaking on the role of HNB in supporting Sri Lanka’s first mobile money service said, "Today, Sri Lanka enters a new era in Payment Solutions through mobile phones, facilitating low value transactions and fund transfers within the country, bringing about much aspired convenience through affordable technology. This solution will provide the platform for financial inclusion of all Sri Lankans and is part of the overall development roadmap envisioned for the country’s electronic payments landscape. HNB, with its island-wide retail banking presence, is proud to be the Custodian Bank supporting Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s mobile market leader, in this ground breaking venture. We are confident that this would herald the much aspired new chapter in inclusive payment solutions venturing beyond the traditional methods, and empowering people with the combined resources of the mobile telephony and banking sectors."
Dialog’s eZ Cash Mobile Payment System is further secured through the institution of a Trust Instrument administered by Deutsche Bank AG. The Tri-Partite Trust instrument between HNB, Deutsche Bank and Dialog Axiata PLC defined under the aegis of the regulations stipulated by the Central Bank enshrines eZ Cash within a customer protection environment on par with Global best practice.