ComBank launches Sri Lanka’s first ‘WhatsApp Banking’ facility

A simple “Hi” is all it now takes to access services at the Commercial Bank of Ceylon.

Demonstrating its innovative use of new-age communications, the country’s largest private bank has pioneered a ground-breaking product on the world’s most widely-used messaging platform WhatsApp to become the first Sri Lankan bank to offer Banking Services on the platform.

Possibly the easiest and fastest form of contactless banking yet for smartphone users, Commercial Bank’s WhatsApp Banking offers services to both accountholders and non-customers, and importantly, can facilitate opening of accounts for those seeking to become customers, the Bank said.

Customers of Commercial Bank of Ceylon can use this facility simply by typing ‘Hi’ on WhatsApp and sending the greeting to the designated number, 0713 353 353. A set of simple instructions such as entering numerical commands to receive the information they are looking for will follow, and the required information will be shared with the customer after he or she enters a unique One-Time-Password (OTP) sent by the Bank via SMS. A simple onetime registration process would be in place to verify the customer’s identity prior to sharing any sensitive data, ensuring sensitive data is secured and protected.

Account holders can access several services including finding out their account balance, viewing account history, or requesting a cheque book, while both customers and non-customers can ask for fixed deposit rates and foreign exchange rates, self-register with the ComBank Digital app or open a new account through the Flash Digital Bank Account via WhatsApp Banking.

“More than two billion people worldwide now use WhatsApp for their messaging needs, and in Sri Lanka it is estimated that more than 6.5 million people use social media,” Commercial Bank’s Managing Director Mr S. Renganathan said. “The most popular messaging platforms are therefore the most logical path to enhancing access to services, especially at a time when social distancing has become the norm. WhatsApp Banking does not require the user to be particularly tech-savvy as the app is widely used and familiar to millions of people.”

The launch of this service eliminates the need for customers to visit a branch for basic banking services. WhatsApp Banking will function as an interim digital offering through which the Bank can reach busy customers inclined towards digitizing their banking experience, the Bank said.

Earlier this year, ComBank announced the integration of all its Online and Mobile Banking channels on a single omni-channel platform with the launch of ‘ComBank Digital’ powered by Fiserv, the US-based global provider of financial services technology. The Bank also recently upgraded its ePassbook app with new features including self-registration, real time transaction notifications, and biometric login which led to 100,000 downloads in just four months.

The first Sri Lankan Bank to be listed among the Top 1000 Banks of the World and the only Sri Lankan bank to be so listed for ten years consecutively, Commercial Bank celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2020. The Bank, which won more than 50 international and local awards in 2019, operates a network of 268 branches and 880 ATMs in Sri Lanka. Commercial Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 19 outlets; Myanmar, where it has a Microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw; and the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake.

(Media Release)