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Orange debuts mobile-only bank

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Orange Bank has been launched as the first mobile-only retail banking service in France.
The offer will include a current account with debit card and overdraft protection, and an interest-bearing savings account.
Additional services, such as credit and insurance, are planned. All transactions and interactions between the customer and Orange Bank will be carried out using the Orange Bank app on the customer’s smartphone.
Orange Bank will be available in France from mid-May to Orange staff, and from early July to the general public.
John Delaney, associate vice-president: mobility at IDC, comments: “Now that the age of revenue growth in traditional mobile services is over, IDC is constantly advising telcos that their corporate strategy must include diversifying into other industry sectors. So we can only applaud Orange for doing exactly that.
“This is a bold move by Orange, involving a substantial investment in preparing the Orange Bank service, and more substantial investment to come in marketing it.
“As we commented early last year when Orange started negotiations with the financial services provider Groupama Banque (in which Orange subsequently acquired a 65% stake), we believe that Orange’s banking strategy hinges on disruption, through offering an approach that is more in tune than traditional banks with the increasingly mobile-centric way in which people live their lives.”
With near-ubiquitious smartphone uptake, and increasingly mature smartphone usage patterns, the time is definitely ripe for a mobile-only bank, Delaney says.
“Indeed there is already a significant amount of mobile banking usage in France, with 34% of French people using their mobile to check their balance, and 11% using their mobile to transfer money, according to Deloitte’s 2016 Mobile Consumer Survey.
“The idea of mobile banking plays well into Orange’s strengths, especially its strong association with customers’ phones, and its reputation as a trusted and secure provider of services,” he adds.
“At first sight the mobile application for Orange Bank looks well designed, and it not only supports all the capabilities of traditional bank accounts, but also offers some innovative and useful features – most notably, perhaps, the ability for a customer to suspend the operation of their own debit card temporarily, if they believe it may have been lost or stolen, but are not certain.”a