USSD Banking Without Internet

The client:

Alfa Bank, the corporate treasury of the Alfa Group, is the largest private commercial bank in Russia. It ranks among the top 10 largest banks in terms of capital in Russia and Ukraine.

Alfa Banking Group is headquartered in Moscow, Russia, with a branch network consisting of 775 offices across Russia and abroad, and includes a subsidiary bank in the Netherlands as well as financial subsidiaries in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Cyprus, and employs approximately 22k people.

The scope

As a leader in the field of remote banking services, Alfa Bank has set the task to provide convenient mobile banking services not just to smartphone users but also to owners of conventional phones. This amounts to about 70% of all mobile devices in Russia.

Alfa Bank asked to provide bank customers a convenient, fast, and secure alternative to SMS banking that doesn’t require subscribers to access the Internet. Among the reasons for implementing this project are: long waiting time in call center queues, rising costs of voice traffic, and expenses for call center maintenance.

The solution

Unlike a smartphone app, where a user has to enter the password every time, all you need to do is dial *142# and you will get access to your accounts almost immediately, even without access to the Internet. The app can be accessed by roaming without extra charges and does not need a 3G or LTE connection. Its functionalities include:

  • Balance check
  • Mini bank statements
  • Top-up mobile phone airtime from bank account
  • Transactions and payments history
  • Block debit and credit cards

Security is provided by using USSD technology, as well as additional verification by checking the numbers of SIM cards. In addition, on some operations, users can set an additional password. The flexible system management of the portal allows Alfa Bank to quickly include new functions, change the old ones, and implement its base services that generate additional income for the bank.

Alfa Bank received a fast and reliable USSD service portal for its subscribers. For example, when, during a DDOS-attack, none of the bank’s servers were available, the service “Alfa-Dialog” continued to work.

According to observers of the portal, Banki.ru, «”Alfa-Dialog” is Russia’s only complete USSD-banking system» (Banki.ru, 08/09/2015).

The service has a monthly fee and brings the bank tens of millions of rubles a month.

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A convenient, fast and secure alternative to SMS bank, that doesn’t require subscribers to access the Internet.

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