PKO Bank Polski’s mobile revolution
Mobile revolution has broken out in the banking market. Customers of PKO Bank Polski, the biggest Polish bank, can now take advantage of the latest generation 4G mobile banking. With the free IKO application they no longer need to carry their wallets with cash and cards with them. Brick-and-mortar and internet store payments as well as ATM cash withdrawals can now be effected through a telephone set alone. The IKO app also enables quick and convenient money transfers to telephone number. In the course of the year, the service will have also become available to customers of other banks.
The IKO application represents an entirely new quality in the banking market. After mobile banking relying on wap (1G), the light website service (2G) and a telephone installed app (3G), the time has come for the customers to take advantage of a true value-added solution. IKO stands for the 4G mobile banking, a solution combining the banking (account balance and account history checking, money transfers) and the payment function (payments for shopping in conventional and online stores, cash withdrawals from ATMs).
To join the users of the new generation mobile banking, a PKO Bank Polski account holder need only to install a free IKO app on their mobile telephone set and to activate it through the iPKO transaction service.No sophisticated smartphones are required as the IKO app operates on handsets carrying diverse operating systems (Android and iOS at the service launch; ultimately also BlackBerry, Symbian, Java and Windows Phone).
The IKO application is secure and easy to use. Customers with PKO Bank Polski accounts will be able to use the mobile payments service on terms very similar to those used for account linked debit cards. In no significant way does the service call for development of new skills or habits. The customer also need not remember to ‘top up’ their phone for the purpose of making a mobile payment; which has been the case in the other solutions currently available in the market.
“Being a modern bank that serves one out of every five Poles¸ we invest in new technologies and focus on innovative solutions. We are pioneers in mass mobile payments in Poland, and this proprietary solution has realistic chances for becoming a local mobile payments standard in the European market”, tells us Zbigniew Jagiello, CEO of PKO Bank Polski.
The key functions of the now available PKO Bank Polski IKO app include:
- Mobile phone enabled shopping bill payments – a code generated by the IKO app is keyed into the payment terminal, and the transaction confirmed with a single ‘click’ of the phone app;
- Mobile phone enabled ATM cash withdrawals, no payment card is needed; cash can be withdrawn at keying in of the IKO code on the ATM;
- Bank transfers to a telephone number – customers can make bank transfers to beneficiaries identified only by their telephone number. The money will reach the recipient immediately after being sent.
- Internet shopping – without the need to log into the transaction service and without keying in any payment card data. The internet shopper chooses the “pay with IKO” option and enters their IKO code.
- Generation of vouchers - enabling payment for shopping and withdrawal of cash from ATMs even when not carrying a mobile telephone set; transactions authorised with a nine-digit voucher number.
The IKO app also offers fast and easy ways of checking bank account balance and transaction history, and of locating the nearest ATMs and vendors accepting the mobile phone enabled payments.
The commercial launch of the mobile payments application was preceded by a pilot phase, which allowed to fine-tune the IKO app and adjust it to the largest possible number of mobile telephone sets and their operating systems. This is why in addition to the apps for the Android system and Apple smartphones (most in use today), the bank plans rapid propagation of solutions for additional operating systems.
The app version implemented now is only the beginning of the capabilities the PKO Bank Polski solution can offer. The project’s long term business objective is to develop a new local payments standard based on the IKO brand. This is going to be made possible at opening up of the service to persons without accounts with PKO Bank Polski: by means of providing them with an electronic purse, a technical account that requires prior replenishment). The solution the bank is presently implementing provides for expansion of its acceptance network through acquisition of new vendors, ATM operators, internet payment aggregators, and even other banks.
“The practically limitless possibilities of developing this app allow us to cast our eye into the future. As new technical solutions and new customers needs appear, we will create and add new functions to the app, including such payments as: parking tickets; city transport fares; shopping coupons; loyalty programmes, or even securities brokerage and investment services. We expect that the 2013 league tables for mobile solution providers will all have a single leader, PKO Bank Polski”, accentuates Wojciech Bolanowski, director of the electronic banking division and the mobile payments project leader.
The IKO application is protected with a PIN code the user sets at its activation; in the event of the customer losing their handset, no third party will be able to use the app, in other words, make unauthorised transactions. The IKO payments app provides the user with full control over the desired level security: via the iPKO transaction service they are directly able to set transaction value limits and transaction frequency limits by transaction type. The level of security is further enhanced by the procedure requiring the user to key in the IKO code on a payment terminal, in an online store or an ATM; and confirm the transition through their telephone. Also, the IKO app user can at any moment deactivate or block the service via the iPKO service, by calling the bank’s hotline or submitting a relevant request at any branch of the bank.
IKO builds upon the key strengths of PKO Bank Polski: its vast retail and corporate customer base; its extensive ATM network (over 2 800 units); and its network of eService payment terminals located with over several thousands of vendors throughout Poland.
As at the launch date, customers will be able to execute IKO mobile payment transactions through PKO Bank Polski ATMs; the eService served payment terminals (among others, the CoffeeHeaven and Costa Coffee café chains; and the Venezia, Tatuum, Gatta, Promod and CCC stores); and on the Internet (among others, in the Groupon.pl service). In the following days we will be systematically adding new vendors accepting the IKO payments. A regularly updated list of points accepting our mobile phone enabled payments is accessible through a dedicated website: iko.pkobp.pl. The latest news on the PKO Bank Polski mobile payments will be posted on the “Płacę telefonem” (I pay with my phone) Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/placetelefonem.
Launch of the PKO Bank Polski mobile payments service will be supported by an advertising campaign with engagement of Polish celebrity Szymon Majewski. The first television campaign will air in early April 2013.
PKO Bank Polski is a Polish banking sector leader. Its consolidated net profit for the year 2012 totalled PLN3.75 billion. It is a Polish company with the highest value of free-float shares on the WSE. The bank has been regularly recognised in prestigious industry rankings. The Polish Accountancy and Tax Institute honoured the PKO Bank Polski Annual Report for the Year 2011 with the Grand Prize in The Best Annual Report competition, in the Banks and Financial Institutions category. It has now been the winner in that category for the second consecutive year. PKO Bank Polski also received the Grand Prize in Bank monthly’s ranking of the 50 largest banks in Poland for 2012: among others, for growth rate of its balance sheet total and its overall market activity. Also, Gazeta Bankowa awarded the Bank for the highest performance in its category. PKO Bank Polski once again came out the winner in the survey of call centres of banks carried out by ARC Rynek i Opinia. PKO Bank Polski is also the country’s strongest image bank. It retains the position of the highest worth brand in the Polish banking market according to the prestigious The Banker magazine, which assessed the PKO Bank Polski brand value at USD1.25 billion. The Most Valuable Polish Brands Ranking 2012 of the Rzeczpospolita daily listed the PKO Bank Polski brand as the most valuable one in the finance category; its worth set at PLN3.72 billion. PKO Bank Polski is also the highest value domestic bank in Poland; this according to the Newsweek magazine’s ranking of the 100 most valuable companies. Philanthropic activities of PKO Bank Polski met with recognition of the Academy for the Development of Philanthropy in Poland, which granted the bank and its Inteligo Financial Services the Benefactor of the Year 2010 statuette, and of the Polish Donors Forum, which granted the bank the Special Award for its longstanding and consistent support of public interest causes. A ranking based on an opinion poll of students has recognised the bank as one of the best employers of the banking sector. This high position achieved by bank in the employer category has been further confirmed through the surveys carried out among students of Poland’s best universities by the international Universum Global and AIESEC.