Norwegian telecoms group Telenor has launched its first wholly-owned financial institution, Telenor Banka, in Serbia the operator announced in a press release today. The online bank will help the company develop and promote its mobile financial services and the operator hopes its new venture will help drive the digitalisation of payments in Serbia, where 80% of transactions are currently performed in cash. Telenor acquired KBC Banka in 2013, and the Telenor Bank now offers users a multi-currency current account with a contactless MasterCard debit card. Customers can perform local transactions, transfer money abroad and exchange currency at favourable rages. Transactions can be carried out via an app on a mobile handset, tablet, or PC, although services will also be offered at Telenor stores and via a network of automated teller machines (ATMs).
The Norwegian group claims that mobile and online banking will serve as a catalyst to help drive economic development in Serbia. The group’s president and CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas explained: ‘Telenor Banka is an example of how we can contribute to the digitalisation and development of society, while at the same time responding to the needs of individuals by offering simple and on-the-go mobile solutions. Mobile financial services are key to our Internet for All strategy, an ambition to connect the unconnected and built on our belief that the internet is for everyone. The mobile phone is the essence to simpler money transfers, readily accessible savings accounts, new methods of bill payment and even insurance products.’ According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Telenor Serbia claimed 3.1 million mobile subscribers at the end of June 2014, equating to just under a third of the total market.