Interview: Zokhir Rasulov, Chief Digital Officer of ABA Bank

Mobile banking applications are somewhat new to people in Cambodia. ABA bank was the first bank in the Kingdom to have launched a full-scale native mobile application which allows its customers to bank on the go.

When the application was made available last year, the main intention was to help banking become more convenient. ABA had received a lot of feedback from the market that banking was often time consuming and that customers had to face numerous inconveniences like heavy traffic, a lack of parking spaces or even wondering if the bank was open during certain holidays or on weekends.

The ABA Mobile App is now available to anyone with an ABA personal account and is a fast, convenient and secure way for people to bank. Geeks in Cambodia sat down with Zokhir Rasulov from ABA bank to talk more about their banking application.

The following interview has been edited for flow, clarity and language.

Could you tell us more about the application and how it works?

Since the app entered the market, it had basic features like checking balances and transferring funds between accounts – both between own accounts and to any other account in ABA bank.

In addition, the app also allowed you to pay for a certain number of services like topping up your phones and paying your bills. These services are constantly growing every month. Now, you can buy bus tickets and pay for electricity or water. All these services are given free of charge with the application.

Zokhir Rasulov, Chief Digital Officer at ABA Bank

Zokhir Rasulov, Chief Digital Officer at ABA Bank

What has been the response from the market?

When the ABA Mobile app was first launched, the market was generally happy and they gave us very good feedback. But it was not an immediate hit. It took time and we understood that as a new feature on the market, it required some market education. So we produced demo and tutorial videos as well as very a communicative TVC to let people know how the application works.

One real life example from the market is a guy who said a major factor in choosing to use another bank was that they have big parking spaces! So I told him that if he banks with ABA, he can use the various services we have all over the city like a large network of ATMs, cash deposit machines, I-Banking and of course the application.

So he tried out the application and the next day, he called me back to tell me that it’s great and that he has opened an account.

Can you tell us more about the available features on the application and if there are any upcoming features as well?

Through our app, people can also have access to the E-cash service which allows users to send money to any ATM and withdraw it without your card. This works through a specified code that is sent through the application to any phone number, which can be your own number and you can key in the code at any ATM to withdraw funds from there. This really helps those who either forget to bring their wallets out or have relatives in rural areas or to help friends in need.

To help with the security of our application, we have recently introduced a Fingerprint ID feature that allows users to log in to the ABA Mobile App with a scanner that is available on the newer Android and iPhone smartphones.

Soon, with the new release of ABA Mobile, you will be able to issue and use virtual MasterCard. Using this service, you can block out a specified amount for yourself to use, without any physical cash which is great for online shoppers. In fact, this virtual MasterCard is an instantly issued on-screen card inclusive of the MasterCard logo and it offers you all the attributes of a real payment card just without the hassle of plastic.

We’re also in the final stages of testing to release a Khmer version of the application which we hope will bring in many users who do not really understand the English language to use the application as well.

E-cash is one of the features available on the ABA app

E-cash is one of the features available on the ABA app

How do you think the application will affect the technology scene in Cambodia?

With digitization, we believe that Cambodia is adopting the latest advancements to do with digitization and as such, it would push people to use smartphones even more. In turn, this changes the daily lifestyle and habits of the people which means that it is now a competition of who will bring in the latest technology first, because the rest will be simply adopting the technologies. So in terms of ABA, we hope to continue being at the forefront of introducing technologies to the Cambodian market.

Moving forward, what plans does ABA have to capitalise on the increased tech savvy nature of the market?

Well, we do have a really clear idea of where we want to bring the application and what technologies we want to implement but we won’t tell you everything because we want to keep it a surprise for when it comes out.

For us here at GIC, it was really interesting to note all the different functions that the ABA application has and how easy it makes banking for all of us. So if you’re looking for a convenient and secure way to bank, this might just be the bank and the application for you!

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