It’s another innovative move from Abbey National: customers will soon be able to get cash and talk time for their mobiles with one visit to an ATM. The new scheme looks set to be a winner, with similar programs already successfully implemented elsewhere in the world. Abbey is clearly the UK’s leading bank in developing novel distribution strategies.
Abbey National has partnered with Orange to launch a mobile top-up service.
UK mortgage bank Abbey National on Monday announced the launch of a new partnership with mobile operator Orange and software provider Euronet. The partnership will see Abbey National enable its customers to top-up their Orange prepaid mobile phones at any of the bank’s 3,000 ATMs across the UK. The scheme is currently in its pilot stage and will be rolled out to the rest of the UK by autumn 2002.
The new venture is yet another example of Abbey National’s innovation in retail banking distribution. Over the last few years the UK’s sixth largest bank has pioneered branch-sharing initiatives with Safeway supermarkets and Sainsbury’s Homebase and has opened Costa Coffee outlets in 18 of its branches. A franchising scheme has also been put in place, under which a cluster of branches are overseen by a franchise manager, who is better placed to respond to local banking needs.
Innovative it might be, but will this new scheme actually work? All the indicators point to it being a success. Ultimately, Abbey National and Orange are making their customers’ lives easier, by removing the need withdraw cash to pay for a top-up voucher. Furthermore, similar schemes have already been effectively implemented elsewhere in the world. Orange Belgium customers have had access to cash machine top-ups for the past three years and now make 30% of prepaid top-ups in this way.
It appears that Abbey National is on to a winner. How long will it be for the rest of the market to catch up?