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December 22, 2009updated 04 Apr 2017 4:17pm

VoiceCash gets European banking licence boost

Mobile money transfer specialist VoiceCash Group (VCG) has marked a significant milestone in its ambitious growth strategy with the award of a European banking license to its newly-formed subsidiary VoiceCash Bank.

By Verdict Staff

Mobile money transfer specialist VoiceCash Group (VCG) has marked a significant milestone in its ambitious growth strategy with the award of a European banking license to its newly-formed subsidiary VoiceCash Bank.

“VoiceCash Bank is the first of its kind, a pure mobile transaction bank,” said Michael Kramer, CEO and founder of VCG.

Malta-registered VoiceCash Bank is headed by Josef Leckel, formerly director of operations for Western Union Financial Services in Central and Eastern Europe.

“With the VoiceCash Bank we are establishing new services worldwide in the international mobile money transfer sector,” Kramer said. “We can offer mobile phone companies, service partners, and even other banks the real possibility to offer new services to customers.”

Logical and important step

“This is a logical and important step forward towards providing world-wide access to mobile banking” stressed Kramer.

“Money transfers across international borders are one of the biggest growth markets and are emerging worldwide as a significant part of the economic development process. There are millions of people that have a mobile phone but don’t have a bank account.”

VCG, which pledges to “provide banking for the millions rather than banking for millionaires”, has in it sights a big slice of the international migrant labour remittance market, worth some $338 billion in 2008.

Incorporated in 2008 in the Netherlands and headquartered in Germany, VCG has displayed a strong flair for innovation, including the adoption of voice authentication as part of its two-factor security solution.

The solution, VoiceTrust, predates VCG and has been offered as a security solution for banks, card issuers and call centres since its establishment by Kramer in 2000.

In the first phase of the VoiceTrust security process, VCG’s server verifies the password or PIN sent via mobile short message service and initiates an automated phone call to the user for voice authentication.

Only the combination of the correct password or PIN and the voice of its valid user results in a successful authentication and enables the real-time transfer of funds to proceed.

In another innovative development, VCG launched the first prepaid MasterCard twin-card for the German market in October 2009. Branded as the Blauworld Prepaid MasterCard it is a cooperative effort between the cards issuer, UK-based Newcastle Building Society, VCG and Blau Mobilfunk, a German company offering discounted mobile phone call tariffs.

The Blauworld Prepaid MasterCard is aimed at providing migrant workers in Germany with a convenient, low-cost international money transfer service.

To facilitate this, two cards are issued, the main card to the German-based customers for their own use and a partner card for the recipient of money abroad. The cards provide access to cash at 1.5 million ATMs and acceptance at 28 million MasterCard merchants worldwide.

Flat rate

Blau Mobilfunk’s focus is on foreigners living in Germany and offers a flat rate of €0.15 ($0.23) per SMS sent from Germany to any foreign country. Blau Mobilfunk is a unit of Dutch telecommunications company KPN Group.

For its product for the migrant worker market, VoiceCash Bank is planning to introduce a salary card to meet the needs of migrant workers in the Middle East.

VoiceCash noted that because many migrant workers in the region do not have bank accounts in their respective host countries, their wages have to be paid in cash or by some form of prepaid card. These workers then have to transfer this money by “complex and expensive routes”.

VoiceCash Bank promises to offer “simplified and cheaper” mobile payment options.

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