Unlike M-Pesa which means M-Mobile, which can function only through Safaricom networks in Kenya, SMS cash has no limitations – as it runs on any mobile line operation, be it Dialog, Mobitel, Airtel, Etisalat etc.
Furthermore, the application has software to run on symbion or android platforms as well as a basic key-in option with security features.
Sinhaputhra Finance Head of Savings Subhashini Wijetunga states that Sinhaputhra launched this project more than five years ago and has lodged the logo with its regulator the Department of Non-Bank supervision of the Central Bank.
The company has had some enthusiastic customers, but it never met the expected success at first. In a society having ready access to ATMs and banks, especially in city areas SMS marketing efforts were a complete failure according to Wijetunga who adds, however, that Sinhaputhra’s strategy to market SMS cash in villages though financially less viable, has been highly appreciated and is fast growing.
Recently, in Pussellawa an estate that echoes the name of the most powerful banking family in the world – Rothschild, this scheme was a major hit. The effort was driven personally by of Sinhaputhra Finance Managing Director Ravana Wijeyaratne and a team that used effective media and translators to communicate the advantages to the plantation community that has to walk no less than four km to reach the town of Pussellawa.
SMS cash works in simple ways to allow for balance inquiry transfer funds which either effects a withdrawal, a payment for a good or service or a transfer to any account in Sri Lanka. This is an amazing feature that combines mobile phones and human interaction to provide this unparalleled customer service. At Sinhaputhra they term this the birth of the Human Teller Machine as opposed to the ATM.
Velusamy Kandiah in Rothschild Estate, Pussellawa can now pay his mobile bill, send money to the BOC account of his mother in Bandarawela, send Rs. 5,000 for his brother in Trincomalee to collect cash by showing his NIC card at the Sinhaputhra branch on Central Street Trincomalee or walk down to the factory and transfer money to the project convener and withdraw cash. He can check his balance as often as he wishes and see if his monthly salaries requested portion has been credited, check if he has received money that was banked into a designated bank account at a commercial bank of his preference and see it credited to his account within 24 hours. He can also save that Rs. 200 a month by transferring same to his daughter’s savings account at Sinhaputhra each month. He receives all this for free whilst he earns a handsome interest and can spend more time with his family and be more productive in the estate.