OCBC Bank has launched a micro-payment service, OCBC Pay Anyone, on its mobile banking app that enables its customers to transfer up to $100 within seconds to any bank account in Singapore – using just the recipient's Facebook account, mobile number or email address. This is the first payment service by a bank in Singapore to allow funds transfers using Facebook.
The OCBC Pay Anyone service eliminates the need for anyone sending money to obtain the recipient's bank account number, or to perform transaction signing using a security token. Instead, the sender simply banks using the familiar tools he utilises to interact with his friends: Mobile, email or – of course – Facebook. According to a study conducted by Experian in 2011, Singaporeans leads the world in spending time on Facebook, with the average session lasting 38 minutes and 46 seconds. In 2013, market research firm GlobalWebIndex reported that 93% of internet users in Singapore have a Facebook account.
Today, to transfer funds via online or mobile banking, you must first add your recipient's bank account details into your payment records. To do so, you must key in a One-Time Password that can only be generated by your security token. These additional steps are often considered cumbersome. Recipients may also not want – or be able – to share their bank account details if contacted at the point of the transaction.
With OCBC Pay Anyone, none of the above is necessary. Security is not compromised: the service adopts the security standards established by the banking industry in Singapore for online banking and funds transfer. It is the recipient – after being alerted via Facebook, mobile or email – who keys in his bank account details on a secure page hosted by OCBC Bank. He must also key in a 6-digit passcode provided by the sender. Only then is the money transferred – directly from the sender's OCBC Bank account – using the new electronic interbank service, FAST (Fast and Secure Transfers).
Mr Pranav Seth, Head of E-Business and Business Transformation, OCBC Bank, said: "We are always looking at ways to make banking easier and more convenient for our customers. To achieve this, we need to make banking accessible on the platforms which they are using daily. Facebook, together with the mobile number and email address, are natural choices for us to bring banking to our customers."
"OCBC's Pay Anyone is the first by a bank in Singapore to allow consumers to send money using only all these platforms. We have set the benchmark for others to follow if they are serious about being a customer-centric organisation. We will build on this and continue to work on developing other innovative but simple and easily accessible banking services,"
Mr Seth said.
On the convenience that OCBC Pay Anyone will bring to her, Ms Michelle Wan, a 31-year old civil servant, said: "My friends and I typically have to make funds transfers after our meals or movies. With this service, we can choose to send the money using our mobile numbers or Facebook without knowing each other's bank account details. Furthermore, I will be able to know when my friends have paid me back without having to check my bank account statement."