Lebanese citizens aren’t exactly spoiled for choices when it comes to digital payment options. Case in point: We’re still waiting for PayPal to be available in the Levantine country. And most, if not all, methods of wiring money are a hassle I’d rather avoid. Therefore, you’ll understand my enthusiasm when BLC Bank walked me through their newly launched HEY-BLC application: A hassle-free mobile payment and money transfer solution that requires nothing more than a Lebanese mobile phone number.
Of course, you’ll need a BLC Bank account if you’re the one dispatching the money, but that’s about the only downside I could think of, and I seriously hope this trend of mobile-based payment options catches on. I have a hopeless case of Credit Card oblivion, and I don’t like walking around with piles of cash. I never leave the house, or anywhere for that matter, without my trusty mobile, and having this option could potentially get me out of a pickle.
I fired away a couple of questions to Mr. Pierrot Attallah – Chief Information Officer at BLC Bank, who was courteous enough to respond and explain the application usage scenarios in detail.
1. Can you briefly explain what “HEY!” is?
HEY! is a new mobile payment revolution from BLC Bank. It is a free application that can be downloaded on any Android and iOS operated smartphone; it will allow users to pay anytime and anywhere in seconds. It is simple to use, safe, and really fast. In just a few seconds, HEY users can pay to merchants, transfer money to anyone, pay from any location, and even open secondary accounts… using only their phones.
2. Who will find this app useful? How do they benefit from it?
The app has both the merchant and the consumer in mind. Users will be able to settle their purchases in stores (Point Of Sale Payments), pay for bookings and delivery orders from any location directly to the merchant as they place their order (Remote Payments) as well asenjoying the convenience of paying anyone instantly on their mobile phones (Person to Person Payments).
It is the ideal payment solution for businesses as well, offering them the advantage of payments being instantly credited to their bank account, avoiding the risk of carrying cash, immediately reversing incorrect clients’ purchases with no hassle and at a low cost. Through a tablet installed at the cashier, clients will settle their purchases in just a few seconds with a simple gesture of holding their mobile phones over the merchant’s HEY tablet.
3. Can you walk us through the process? What kind of transactions can you make through HEY?
Paying to a HEY user: Payments to HEY users are easy and instant. The money will be taken from your HEY electronic wallet account and immediately transferred to theirs. It’s as quick as paying them in person, only easier!
To make such a payment, you log in to the HEY BLC app on your phone, tap on the icon dedicated to person-to-person payments and enter your recipient’s mobile number and the amount you are paying. It is worth mentioning that this and all HEY transactions are very secure; as a user, you are required to enter your personal lock pattern to log into the app and enter your e-PIN to carry out payments.
Paying to a non-HEY BLC user: A really important and innovative feature of HEY BLC is that it allows you to pay anyone, even if they are not registered to HEY, are not BLC Bank clients or do not even have a bank account. All you need is their mobile number.
Paying to merchants: Paying for your purchases through HEY is faster and more convenient than any other method. The retailer enters your bill amount on their HEY tablet and turns the screen towards you, at which point you log in to HEY BLC on your phone and face the QR code that shows on your screen to the tablet’s camera so that it scans it. Payments are done instantly.
To ensure the security of the transaction, your name and photo appear on the merchant’s tablet so that the merchant can identify that you are indeed the owner of the phone.
Long Distance/ Remote Payment: Another unique feature of HEY is that it allows you to pay your delivery orders and booking to the merchant from your home as you order. The merchant enters your phone number on their tablet and the bill amount. You immediately receive a payment request on your HEY BLC app. Once you approve it, the payment is instantly executed. You can even pay tips.
4. From what I understood, one can send money to anyone even if they don’t have a BLC Bank account. How does that work?
There are 2 ways to transfer money to a non-BLC Bank client:
– Person to person Payments: With just a few seconds on their phone, HEY users can transfer the desired amount to whomever they want, even if the recipients are not BLC Bank clients. The latter will receive a message on their mobile phone with all the details (the payer, date of payment, amount of money…) and a code that allows them to retrieve the money from any BLC Bank across Lebanon. These payments are very convenient for example, for family members who live in different areas and need to send each other money regularly (such as allowances). They are also practical for settling a payment to a third party who is based in a region not to close to yours.
– Supplementary Accounts: where you can open a supplementary account under your own and assign it to anyone you choose. That person can then download the HEY BLC app and register as a supplementary user without needing to go to the bank. You will be able to send them money instantly through the app and they will be able to make all the transactions detailed earlier. These users will have access restricted to their supplementary account without being able to access your primary account. This feature is great for emergency cash and it also allows you to monitor the spending of your supplementary account user.
5. How is the money transfer actually made? and how does the app communicate with the POS, etc…?
The application communicates with the tablets via internet connection only (Wi-Fi and 3G). This allows HEY great flexibility whereas payers do not have to be physically present at stores to make payments.
6. What kind of security features are implemented? Just how safe are these transactions?
In order to ensure that your Smartphone and Account are fully secure, we provide you with at least three levels of security that are customizable:
– Accessing the app requires entering a lock pattern that you can customize
– Carrying out any transaction requires the user to enter a personal e-PIN that they set.
– At registration, users are required to upload a clear photo of their face, enabling merchants to identify them when paying in stores.
It is also recommended to set an access code for your mobile phone thus increasing security.
7. What happens if I make a mistake, like forget to collect a payment, lose my phone or delete the app? Will my money be compromised?
In the case of uncollected payments, these can still be cashed if you lose or erase your phone, because your funds are in an electronic wallet account that you can regain access to anytime.
-If you lose your phone, you should report it to BLC Bank’s customer service hotline (on 1510) and have yourwalletaccount temporarilyde-activated. When youre-enroll on another device, thissame account will automatically be linked to yournew device.
-If you erase the application, your wallet account will be relinked to the app once you download it again.
In all cases, you can reach and transfer funds to and from your wallet account anytime through your internet and mobile banking accounts.
8. Which places/retailers currently accept payment through HEY?
BLC Bank has to date more than 300 partnered merchants covering:
– Restaurants & Cafes
– Retail Shops
– Gift & Flower shops
– Travel Agencies
– Spas & Resorts
– Multimedia and Telecommunication stores
You can check out BLC Bank’s growing list of merchants on www.heyblc.com
If you’re a BLC Bank user, I say download the application right now from Google’s Play Store or iOS’ App Store and take it for a spin. I especially like the fact that you can wire money instantly to any mobile phone owner!