Filipinos love their text messages, which is exactly why credit card issuer Citi decided the Philippines was the ideal place to introduce the bank’s new mobile phone banking. As of last Friday, Filipino cardholders can make credit card charges via text message or phone call.
“Citibank, the world’s largest credit card issuer, could have launched this product anywhere else in the world. But country business manager Mark Jones said Citi Mobile was introduced first in the Philippines because of Filipinos’ penchant to send an average of 12 to 15 text messages per day,” says Inquirer.net.
Citi says that out of the one billion mobile phone service subscribers worldwide last year, 53 million lived in the Philippines. “Filipinos sent 1.5 trillion messages in 2007, more than half the 2.3 trillion text messages sent globally on the same year,” Inquirer.net says. Evidently, Filipinos really like to text.
Citi’s Jones tells Comtex that his company’s more than one million cardholders are now able to charge payments on gift purchases to their Citi credit cards via their cellphones.
As for security, Citi cardholders will need to have their cellphone on hand in addition to a PIN number in order to make transactions. At present, only three merchants, including McDonald’s, accept the Filipino cellphone credit card payments.
In addition to allowing credit card charges using a text or phone call, the service will also enable Filipino ex-pats to reload their mobile phones from abroad, send phone credits to their family members and deliver flowers or cakes using their cellphones, all the while racking up reward points.
According to data from Javelin Research & Strategy cited in an earlier CreditCards.com look at contactless payments, the number of contactless devices in the United States could expand to 57 million by 2013. That increase would require a surge in popularity for mobile devices enabled with contactless abilities. Otherwise, contactless payment growth will remain flat.
“No one has ever really introduced something like this, where you can charge something to your credit card just by texting or calling a merchant,” Citi Philippines eConsumer Business Director Cecille Fonancier tells Inquirer.net. With mobile banking yet to take off globally, Citi will be keeping tabs on how its groundbreaking cellphone initiative is received.
See related: Contactless credit cards ‘floundering’
Happy belated Independence Day! In celebration of the Fourth of July, Mighty Bargain Hunter put together an interesting historical look at the U.S. flag along with a collection of highlights from the blogosphere for the latest Carnival of Personal Finance: the American Flag Edition. Among the blog entries chosen was my post “Visa changes aim to ease gas pain.”