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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Fund transfers via cellphone numbers

New DBS app does not require keying in of bank account number
The Straits Times - May 30, 2014
By: Kash Cheong
| More
Fund transfers via cellphone numbers About 5,000 people have signed up for PayLah! since it was available at the app stores last week. -- PHOTO: DBS

THE largest bank in Singapore has launched an app that allows users to transfer up to $999 a day to other DBS Bank and POSB accounts just by keying in the recipient's phone number.

This will help users pay for anything from their child's tuition fees to their maid's salary or even purchases from a blog shop without having to worry about keying in the wrong account number.

"By using mobile numbers, we are making it more intuitive," said Mr Louis Foo, senior vice-president of Consumer Banking Group eBusiness at DBS.

Called DBS PayLah!, the new app is available to all its two million Internet banking users.

After downloading the app, and a one-time registration process, users can top up their PayLah! accounts with up to $999 from their bank accounts. Then they can start sending money to other PayLah! users.

The $999 cap can be topped up daily. No other similar mobile solution currently in the market here offers this much spending power, said DBS.

OCBC has a mobile solution which allows customers to send up to $100 daily, while another by UOB has a daily limit of $500.

Since PayLah! applies only to DBS or POSB customers - four out of five Singaporeans are one - the bank is able to trace who transferred the funds and who received them, said Mr Foo. DBS merged with POSB in 1998.

If users lose their phones, they should inform the bank immediately so that all PayLah! transactions from their account can be stopped, DBS added.

Innovative mobile payment solutions have sprung up over the past few years, though not all were a hit. Groups like EZ-link and DBS have, for instance, launched solutions which allow users to pay for purchases by tapping their phones against a reader. But these were not supported on the Apple iPhone.

About 5,000 people have signed up for PayLah! since it was available on Apple's AppStore and Android's Google Play last week. While consumers lauded the app's convenience, not all will jump on the bandwagon straightaway.

"I want to wait for feedback from those who tried it," said 26-year-old advertising executive Chong Lingyi.

Added student Ben Teo, 20: "Most of my friends have DBS accounts. But for the few who don't, I can't use this."

Meanwhile, DBS is also piloting a mobile solution that allows merchants to accept credit card payments on the go. This could be a "cheaper" option than traditional point-of-sale credit card terminals, it said.

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