Going "dutch" for a meal but have no cash to pay your share?
Online cash transfers of up to $100 are now easier with a new mobile service that does not require the sender to know the recipient's banking account details.
Launched yesterday, OCBC Pay Anyone lets the bank's e-banking customers send up to $100 to any friends on Facebook, or a mobile phone and e-mail contact.
The service is available to OCBC Mobile Banking app users on the Apple iPhone, for starters.
Said to be the first of its kind here, OCBC Pay Anyone rides on the Fast And Secure Transfers (Fast) inter-bank network that transfers money instantly - compared with two to three days via eGiro or cheques.
The payee can be a customer of any of the 14 local and foreign banks that are using Fast today.
OCBC Pay Anyone addresses an irritating aspect of e-transfers today: the need to know the recipient's account number.
"But most consumers do not remember their account number," said Mr Pranav Seth, OCBC's head of e-business and business transformation.
Noting that the volume of fund transfers done using mobile phones jumped five times from 2011 to last year, he said that OCBC Pay Anyone is an effort to make banking more accessible on the platforms people use daily.
He said the service will stay free "as of now", and expects 15 per cent of the bank's mobile fund transfers to be done this way by the end of the year.
With OCBC Pay Anyone, users also do not need to add payees to their online accounts, which requires the use of a security token.
The sender will be prompted to select a recipient from his contact list - on Facebook, phone book or e-mail address book. The sender then logs in to his OCBC Mobile Banking account to create a six-digit password to be given separately to the recipient to be used as part of collecting the funds.
To complete the transfer, the sender enters a one-time password sent to his mobile phone.
The recipient will get an SMS, e-mail or private Facebook post carrying a webpage link, and has up to 24 hours to collect the money. The link directs the recipient to an OCBC webpage where he needs to enter his bank account number and the sender-created six-digit password.
Consumers say they like the convenience of not having to enter the account details of payees.
"I'm always afraid I will enter the wrong account number," said teacher Jerena Tan, 26.
Senior youth worker Paul Teo, 41, said the $100 transaction limit should be raised. "Small amounts can easily be settled by cash as there are so many ATMs in Singapore."
This article was published on May 13 in The Straits Times.
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