BSP SMS Banking Now Ready

By Emmanuel Narokobi

Despite the drama’s with BSP’s new look campaign, I’m still quite impressed by the efforts to improve banking for us. So yesterday they had their public launch of their SMS Banking service which I had been alluding to in my last posts here and here.

See below for pdf forms and information:

  • Download Application form for SMS Banking here
  • Download Information Brochure here
  • Download SMS Banking FAQ here

28 thoughts on “BSP SMS Banking Now Ready

  1. E,

    As I read your story about BSP and SMS – I wander how many PC’s and Laptops in PNG are secure enough to do online banking!

    I was one of the first St George Bank (Advance Bank) customers to register for phone and internet banking in Australia – I saw the advantage of spending less time in banks and queues – and in all the years of doing electronic transactions I have never had one fraud incident against any of my plastic. This perfect record (touch wood) is due to the care that I take to make my personal PC/Laptop ultra safe.

    Having shared the above I also need to mention that there’s not one PC or Laptop in the whole of PNG that I would entrust to do my electronic banking on. Most folks here just continue to ignore the dangers (not to mention the inconvenience) of malware.

    For heavens sake… any one out there already doing on line transactions or any one thinking about doing it… please make sure that the PC/Laptop you are using has appropriate and current protection (and I’m not talking about condoms)!!

    I remember in the “dark ages” when I was still running Microsoft (before I saw the light!) – I had a list of 10 tips for securing a Windoze machine. Anyone interested in this list I am happy to share.


    1. Thanks Robert for pointing that out. I always wanted to do online banking but am quite scared of the fact that new inventions on viruses is something that needs furthur elaboration and cautioning. As last heard in 60 minutes on EMTV (April, 2009) a virus created to track down online bankers with PCs having windows Microsoft, Macintos etc… Currently there’s no antivirus software that can detect these viruses as reserch is still underway. There are latest and better versions of windows that the virus couldnt attact but I believe not majority Papua New Guinean have acess to them so for those already into online banking should take extra precautions, meaning not to browse internet unnecessarily if you are using your private PC’s which you have your banking details because as heard, that will be easily tracked down. We dont want to see our hard earned kina lost this way. This is not to stop us from doing internet banking but for us to be cautious. I would suggest phone or mobile phone banking would be ideal for Papua New Guineans at this time.

      1. Hi Belinda,

        In terms of security, BSP online banking is generally quite safe. The login section is open up in a secure page, so its not a normal hosting environment and your actual account page is only open for a certain period of time if your not using it. Also despite some features in browsers that save login details, because of the secure login section your passwords and usernames are never saved so you always have to sign in each time you login.

        Personal accounts use a user number and password number and Business accounts need both user numbers and then the name of the account. So three different codes for logging in for business.

        But I get your point though, perhaps ISP’s and Banks and anyone involved in financial transactions through digital means need to also have some sort of help desk for viruses as well, although we’d really have to start using these services more before we can identify how to improve them.

      2. So long one takes the appropriate precautions – I repeat… so long one takes the appropriate precautions – Electronic Banking is very safe – in fact (IMHO) it’s actually more secure than doing transactions over the counter.


  2. Thanks Rob, yeah I have internet banking for 2 BSP accounts, so can you please email me your 10 tips.

    But true true…people really need better protection. One of my pet hates is friends who want to get music off me etc and you always find that their flash drives are just teeming with viruses.

  3. Very True Robert,

    Everyone has a Computer or Laptop and most people think that by having an Anti-Virus Program installed will protect you. What they fail to understand is that this Anti-Virus Programs need to be updated every week, month etc. The greatest medium of Virus spread is through flash drives, especially when its so cheap this days and nearly every school kid has one, or an MP3/MP4 Player, and its amazing how the Self Replicating Worms love this. I have seen them in action they destroy without warning.

    The worst places are schools with networks where the ignorant computer guy looking after this networks fails to update Anti-Virus Software. The kids come in and out without been properly thought how to scan their flash drives and protect their files. They take them home and wala, the PC or Laptop at home is starting become very slow with strange processors running in the back ground.

    I believe an awareness in Anti-Virus and Malware is in good order. I have written an article about Phishing sites, spamming and Viruses, especially self replicating worms from a non-IT guys point of view, if I can find it will post.

  4. T,

    Be interested to see a copy of your article on malware if possible.


    Here’s my 10 tips in point form:

    1) Install a reputable anti-virus program.
    2) Ensure anti-virus program is always on the latest updates.
    3) Install a reputable anti-spyware program.
    4) Ensure anti-spyware program is always on the latest updates.
    5) Ditch Internet Explorer (IE) in favour of Firefox (ensure you install NoScript add-on for Firefox).
    6) If you insist on running IE then ditch Microsoft’s JVM in favour of Sun’s JVM.
    7) Make sure you are running a firewall. Block everything at first and slowly allow traffic as required.
    8) Ditch Outlook in favour of an alternative mail/calendaring product (eg: Thunderbird).
    9) Ensure your Operating System (XP) is always patched up to the latest.
    10) Seriously consider running Open Source (Linux) and then malware will instantly become a thing of the past.

    In this day and age… why anyone of sound mind would continue to run MS on their home PC/Laptop is beyond me.

    Linux on the desktop makes unbelievable sense!!


  5. Thanks Rob, the thing with Linux is education. I am guilty of still using MS, but if you could make Linux easy to understand and package it appropriately then it could have a chance against MS. People, especially newbies to PC’s will always stick to what they know or have heard more about.

  6. E,

    There was a time when Linux was difficult and cumbersome to install and use. I can vouch for this as I have had several goes at trying out Linux and always pulled out due to the reasons you give. This is no longer the case – the simplicity, stability and features of Linux has now surpassed MS.


  7. I’ve heard allot about Linux and its benefits and I’m interested, but for example how do you convince ISP’s and PC sellers to have them pre installed in machines?

    Would you have to create like some sort of brand of OS for people?

  8. Excuse me E,

    (I think you’re the one needing convincing here – LOL!)

    ISP’s are already convinced: most back end stuff: proxy’s, routers, web servers are already running some flavour of linux. (Well over half of the web pages around the world are served by Linux servers! – have been for years).

    PC resellers are slowly catching on… most brands now have an option to have Linux pre-installed rather than Windoze.

    The brand/flavour of OS/Linux for people already exists… it’s called Ubuntu and is sometimes referred to as the “Linux for human beings”.


    NB: If you are scratching your head right – thinking… I bet check out this Linux gizmo. Go to the Ubuntu website and download and free install CD – find a spare PC/Laptop and have a whirl!!

  9. Hi Manu,

    There is something very insecure about this sms banking.
    While the idea is Noble, I do think BSP should be careful about the security of its customers as it will be open to abuse and attacks.

    Here are some things I think would contribute to insecure transactions.

    1. Digicel does not have a database in which phone numbers are linked to customers (name, address, etc). This can leave it open for people to steal a phone and transfer funds between accounts (say a son using dad’s phone).

    2. Also hard for the BSP to verify with phone computer the mobile number belongs to the correct person due to lack of database.

    3. Its equally hard to get a sim card replacement with Digicel… you’d have to go thru the hassle of changing all the details with the bank… there should be a 24/7 helpline

    4. Does anyone know how many people use my phone to use “credit me” services without my knowledge?

    5. Need a really good password combination or minimum failed attempt.

    Okay… need to get some sleep.

  10. @Rob
    Thanks for the tips, I also have a friend here who works on large scale back end stuff with Linux so will pick his brains also. Guess I better try it myself before I begin talking about how the everyday person can use Linux. thanks again…

    Good points Rex, they told me that in terms of someone else using your phone, it is a security issue but the onus will fall on you to look after your phone like you would your PIN number etc.

    The SIM card replacement with your number is a definate issue. I had to go to 4 different outlets last time I needed a new SIM from Digicel.

  11. There are certainly security issues and concerns with phone banking. One would need to find out exactly what measures BSP have implemented to protect the customer from potential fraudsters.

    Several worthwhile articles that go into this in a little more detail:,130061744,339283275,00.htm?feed=pt_security

    The question also needs to be asked of course: “Is using plastic over the counter any safer than SMS or Internet banking”?



  12. Thanks for the links Rob. Whatever we do with money there is always going to be risk of theft, hacking etc. But if we can minimise that risk while at the same time increasing our personnel day to day efficiency then I think its worth moving ahead with developments like BSP’s SMS Banking.

    Just like your Kundu Card and just like physical cash in your wallet…look after it! Watch it! And don’t allow opportunities for someone to take advantage of it!

    But yes on a technical level, we’ll have to see over the next couple of months how people interact with the technology.

  13. Agree 100% with your comments. Whenever possible my preference is to do an electronic transaction – saves me a heap of time.

    Wan bel i stap
    (One stomach is here)


  14. Despite most of this thread being about online security, I was interested in the thought sof anyone who has used the new service and how you have found it – is it working for you and does it make your banking easier?

    Thanks and some good discussion on ‘staying safe’



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