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Mobile banking without telecoms

A “unique” new app developed by Hungary’s Gránit Bank, in cooperation with Mastercard, has taken an important step towards making the old-fashioned leather wallet or purse redundant. In only a few seconds it is possible to move your bank card into your mobile phone and then pay for anything you want, in theory anywhere in the world.

Mihály Varga, Minister for National Economy, at the Gránit Pay launch.

“Gránit Bank is using cloud based payment and the Mastercard Digital Enablement Service (MDES). It is unique,” says László Szetnics, mobile business development leader at Mastercard. “We do all we can to incorporate technological bank services to mobile phones. Adopting a mobile app is a top choice because, today, everyone has a smartphone. Since Gránit has decided to do a payment system without telecommunications, this is something incomparable.” 

The app is called Gránit Pay and was launched on September 15, pitching it into a market shared by the likes of technological giants Apple and Samsung, whose own apps have been around since 2014. The developers say that what is exceptional about this new mobile payment service is that no special SIM card or bank card is needed for payment. After downloading Gránit Pay, it just needs to digitalize the real bankcard number and turn into a virtual one. Then, you simply place the phone on the terminal and pay.

The bank says Gránit Pay makes it the first issuer bank in Europe to launch an MDES-based mobile payment solution. “We like to be innovative for our clients. And of course, there is also an economic reason, because today it is cheaper to be digital,” explains bank director Éva Hegedüs. “We are not just unique and top in Hungary, but also in Europe.”

According to Gránit, “the technological innovation was extremely well received by customers”. Since its introduction midway through last month, more than 1,000 people have downloaded the application. On the first day alone, 164 bank cards were digitized.

Hungary leading

“Hungary is leading this innovative market for the first time in Europe. Mastercard is working constantly to develop technological devices and offerings to banks,” commented Endre Eölyüs, country manager for Hungary and Slovenia at Mastercard, at the app’s introduction.

Since its foundation, Gránit Bank has been known for its efforts to develop digital services. In 2012, it was the first to launch a VideoBank service on the Hungarian market, adding unique features, such as the Gránit Lock which helps to increase security by allowing cardholders to temporarily lock or unlock their bank cards by simply pushing a button.

Comfortable

Contactless payment is becoming more popular in Hungary: according to statistics from the National Bank of Hungary, “the number of contactless transactions has more than doubled in a year, outnumbering traditional plastic card payments for the first time.”

Even Mihály Varga, the Minister for National Economy, who attended the launch, seemed impressed. “Gránit Pay is something really new. Comfortable, convenient, and easy,” he commented. “The long-term aim is to increase payments and purchases, which benefits the economy. When an economy depends too much on cash, it means that there are a lot of illegal markets. Gránit Bank is 44% owned by the Hungarian state, and the government is very much interested in making the economy transparent. Gránit Pay can be a good example that can help to whiten our economy. Gránit Bank is also a suitable example to show the world that Hungarians are open to start new things and have an entrepreneurial mindset,” he added. “This product is such an innovative project, and it came from Hungary before anywhere else.”