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October 14, 2014

Kenyan Bank Issues Smart SIM for Phone-Based Transactions

In the era of mobile banking and token authentication for easy home-based payments, making transactions has never been easier. A bank in Kenya called Equity Bank says that this isn't enough, and has decided to make mobile banking even simpler by issuing banking smart SIMs to its clients with patented technology from Taisys, a Taiwan-based innovator in mobile telecommunications solutions. The ultra-thin smart SIM platform will be a sticker-like object that you can place on top of your phone's current SIM card. It does not disrupt the use of phone calls. Instead, it will add secure banking functionality by tying your bank account to your phone.

Until now, banks have been relying on telecom providers to issue these smart SIMs (I like to call them “SIMplants”). This took control away from the banks themselves and left you in the hands of whatever security your telecom provider uses to handle your account. Tiasys' ultra-thin platform will be able to allow for mobile banking transactions in any situation.

Tiasys' CEO, Jason Ho, is excited about this implementation. “With a population of 40 million, and 14 million mobile money users, Kenya is a mature market with users familiar with mobile financial services,” he said. “Taisys sees this as a great impetus for growth in mobile banking.”

It's only logical that the banks be allowed to manage transaction security, since they are the most interested in making sure that customer accounts are as safe as possible. After all, they're the ones who lose money if the customer experience is compromised. They also lose customer trust as a result of this, which can negatively impact the bank's reputation. Having the ability to provide its customers with a direct link to its banking platform gives Equity Bank a significant edge.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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