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The Business Times: … And the cheques in the iPhone


NEED to write a cheque but don’t have your cheque book along? Not a problem; just whip out your iPhone, tap out a cheque and hit the “send” button. That’s how easy it is, thanks to a new service developed by local IT company Tagit for Standard Chartered (Stanchart) bank.

Account holders who sign up for the bank’s online iPhone application, Breeze, can fill up a cheque to anyone on their phone and then “send it” to the bank for encashment.

Navtej Singh, one of the principal founders of Tagit, told BizIT that the iPhone-based cheque payment system, know as eCheque, is simple to use and secure.

“Before sending an eCheque all the customer needs to do is add the details of the payee through our online banking system (Breeze). The system will confirm the name through a second factor authentication via the user’s mobile phone.”

Once the payee’s name is registered, all that the customer needs to do is to select the name from Breeze, type out the ccount to be used to make the payment, enter the amount, and then click the “send” button, Mr Singh said.

“The iPhone interface lends itself especially well to this sort of interaction. Once the customer submits his request, the bank will take care of the rest at no cost to the customer. The payee will receive a physical cheque in the mail which he can then deposit into his account,” he added.

Explaining the advantages, Mr Singh noted that with the eCheque facility, customers would no longer have to carry a physical cheque book which can get lost. “Customers can also issue cheques any time, anywhere by simply entering the name and address of an existing registered payee, and the bank will send the cheque on their behalf.”

Mr Singh added that Standchart also offers the “Pay-Any-Card” facility where customers can make payment to any credit card within the country. A Stanchart spokesman told BizIT: “We are extremely pleased with the eCheque and believe that it offers a world of convenience for our customers. We have currently launched this service in Singapore, but are looking to expand a similar service to other markets in the future. To our knowledge, we’re the first in the world to offer the eCheque facility on the iPhone.”

Tagit was set up in September 2004 and its flagship product, Mobeix, has enabled banks in the region to offer basic and innovative banking services over the mobile platform, Mr Singh said.

He added that all the technology and IP of the company is homegrown and it has a wholly owned subsidiary in Chennai, India which handles sales and tech support for clients in India. “Our current year revenues are expected to be between $3.5-4 million,” Mr Singh said. In India, the company launched a mobile banking solution for Citibank last year in March.

He added that Tagit has also implemented a mobile banking solution for DBS Bank. “It has been a big success since it was rolled out in April this year.”

For Stanchart, the company has also developed an Intranet-based mobile service for use by Standchart staff worldwide. “This essentially provides a channel for bank staff to stay connected with the bank on human resources and administrative matters, any time, anywhere,” Mr Singh said.

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