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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Guta Bank, MTS Hook Up For Wireless Banking Service

Guta Bank and Mobile Telesystems have joined forces to bring wireless telephone banking to Moscow.

While neither company is expecting to make a fortune on the project, Guta Bank says it is launching the new wireless application protocol, or WAP, service in part to challenge other banks to update their technology.

"We just want other banks to see that something is happening in this area — otherwise, when would Sberbank get into the swing of things?" said Guta vice president Andrei Anisimov, referring to the state-owned national savings bank, the largest bank in the country.

So far the new service is only available to those clients who are simultaneously MTS subscribers and Guta Bank clients. Essentially, MTS has only provided another form of access to Guta’s long-standing Telebank system for the Internet. With the system clients can use their mobile phones to manage their bank accounts, transfer money to credit or debit cards, pay bills and convert currency.

But the bank and the operator are not conducting mutual settlements for transactions, said Shagit Reznikov, MTS’s director for new technologies and services.

"Our intention is to increase WAP-traffic and [Guta Bank] is making its system more attractive," Reznikov said. "Today’s service is just the first step toward true mobile banking."

MTS is currently working on software to ensure the safety of banking transactions — meaning that the next stage of mobile banking will be better protected, in line with international standards.

There is virtually no independent research on the Russian mobile-banking market and its prospects. According to its own data, Guta Bank — with its 2,500 Telebank clients — controls 61 percent of the domestic Internet banking market. It is harder still to assess the prospects for mobile banking — so far no plans exist for its implementation with other Russian banks. Research into the popularity of WAP services with mobile telephone users has so far been conducted only by the operators themselves.

Despite the unexpectedly slow growth in the new technology worldwide, Vimpelcom, MTS’s main competitor, also plans to test the complicated WAP system by the end of this year.

"Rather than working with just one bank, we plan to create a general settlement center that will conclude agreements with banks for the implementation of mobile commerce systems," said Vimpelcom press secretary Mikhail Umarov. Guta's Telebank Mobile Telesystems Vimpelcom