Norway’s Telenor Opens Serbia’s Most Available Bank

The digitalization of cash payments and the convenience of online and mobile banking are expected to stimulate financial and economic growth in Serbia, where some 80 percent of transactions are currently performed in cash.The online bank is set to encourage more consumers of the nation of 7 million people, to save via bank accounts, build credit histories, and pay for transactions digitally versus cash.

“Telenor banka is an example of how we can contribute to the digitalization and development of society, while at the same time responding to the needs of individuals by offering simple and on-the-go mobile solutions. Mobile financial services are key to our Internet for All strategy, an ambition to connect the unconnected and built on our belief that the internet is for everyone. The mobile phone is the essence to simpler money transfers, readily accessible savings accounts, new methods of bill payment and even insurance products,” says Telenor Group President and Chief Executive Officer Jon Fredrik Baksaas.

“The launch of the bank in Serbia is conducted in close cooperation with Serbian authorities and represents a significant step in the company’s financial service history. We are currently also evaluating the establishment of financial services in other Telenor markets in Europe. As market conditions vary across Europe, the approach might be different from the one in Serbia,” says Kjell-Morten Johnsen, EVP and Head of Region Europe.

Telenor Group, which entered Serbia in 2006, bought KBC Banka in 2013. Mobile financial services are no new venture to Telenor, which entered the mobile financial services industry in 1999. Telenor co-owns Pakistan’s Easypaisa service, the third largest mobile money deployment in the world. Easypaisa, a venture between Tameer Microfinance Bank and Telenor, today serves over 6 million customers every month through a wide network of 30,000 agents in 700 cities across Pakistan. In Norway, Telenor is in partnership with local banks driving the mobile wallet and cashless payment Valyou and the mobile BankID solution.

Telenor is now launching its first fully online bank and via its agreement with MasterCard, consumers in Serbia will be able to access the bank’s own and other ATMs for money withdrawals and deposits. Telenor banka customers will be able to open their account at  Telenor service shops across Serbia. Telenor banka provides interest and an easier alternative to waiting on queues in post offices or travelling long distances in the countryside to pay bills. With a fully online bank, all processes are completed immediately and Telenor is offering innovative mobile banking services, which are hassle free, available anytime and from anywhere.

Facts & Figures

  • Telenor Bank currently offers to all citizens in Serbia
  • a multi-currency current account with contactless MasterCard debit card
  • local transactions and money transfer abroad
  • currency exchange at favorable exchange rates
  • all transactions can be handled via an app on mobile phone, tablet or PC

Services will be offered at Telenor shops and through a network of ATMs, with functionality of money withdrawals and deposits.

Serbia has a high connectivity rate and relatively low penetration within online banking. Half of Serbia’s population use Facebook, yet only 9% run their finances online.

Telenor Group has 3.1 million mobile customers in Serbia and is a market share leader by revenue

A BCG 2011 report estimates that by 2020 access to MFS could increase GDP by 2% in Serbia.

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