The Dawn of E-Commerce in PK — UBL Orion (built by Techlogix)

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This Post was made Jointly by Asif and Osama.

UBL Orion: Mobile Wallet

UBL has a few days back launched its new product “Orion”, a payment solution via your gsm service cellular phone.Mobile Wallet The concept of this new service product is enabling your cell phone to make payments against selected/authorized products and services that you avail. You can see the demo here.

How does Orion function?

The user level functional description is that a GSM subcriber needs to open an Orion Account with UBL. Just deposit amount (refundable/withdrawable) in the Orion virtual account and start spending by way of paying bills, purchasing/loading cellular service prepaid balance, share/gift money to other Orion account holders etc. Regular call charges/tarriffs apply on Orion transactions. The Orion service charges are separately payable to UBL.

Examples of usage are payment of utility bills via a SMS command from your cell phone, recharging your cellular connection via an SMS purchase request or gifting Rs.1,000/- to your younger brother on his birthday.

Or payment of your restaurant dinner bill through your cell to a virtual merchant account, purchase of an air-ticket, ordering Starbucks latte and paying while on way to office with the latte ready at the takeaway counter, buying and sending movie tickets to kids via cell phone, dialing a bail for your son…

Thoughts (added by Osama)

This solution was developed by Techlogix, and from what I know it is carrier independent — you use this solution over any cellphone capable of SMSes, and the messages are routed directly to the Orion hosted data-centers (Cybernet is an unconfirmed host for this data)

There is some concern over the protection of privately protected data, but otherwise this can turn out to be the first huge step on the path to enabling E-Commerce in Pakistan.

Kudos to everyone involved in making it happen.

Unfortunately, this may not be great news for the other people trying to make moves in this market, such as Amaana, Inov8 and others.

Facebook comments:


  • Ufone has got an option of making payments via SMS – though haven’t tested it myself.

  • UBL has got some very interesting and usefull products. like tezraftar check. now lets say you want to send some one money you go in your online account fill in the details and a check from ubl in the name of that person will be delivered to his doorstep. UBL is really brining great products whiche make sense. this Orion partner ship represents another feather in their cap. not to mention thei run away success with the car lease.
    Good job UBL. maybe all other so called international bank like SCB or ABN Amro should start competing with local banks and improve the services

  • OR Maybe an international bank *cough*SCB*cough* can buy a local bank with better customer experience *cough*Union*cough* and change its policies enough to start driving customers away *cough*me*cough*.

  • Cell phone banking promises to be the new frontier of consumer banking. It is not all new as it has been around in Phillipines and South Africa for years.

    Globally there are two models, the Bank led model and the Telco led model. The new draft regulations for Branchless banking circulated by SBP decidedly favor the Bank led model.

    The UBL initaitive deserves all the kudos. While the other big boys have been content with sitting on their lazy behinds raking in easy float money, UBL has been innovating.

    There are some very basic flaws in the overall offering, but that is to be expected in a pilot.

    Essentially, this market space is going to heat up, a lot, over the next 2 -3 years. To make any meaningful dent in the overall banking picture, the offering has to enhance penetration from “my bank customers” to “all cell phone users”. Up until that barrier is crossed, this will remain a novelty.

    As with all things, real innovation is hard to come by on a full stomach, look for hungry new entrants, as in the telecom industry worldwide, who will use vision, technology and innovation and eat the lunch of the fatties

  • @ “the offering has to enhance penetration from “my bank customers” to “all cell phone users”. Up until that barrier is crossed, this will remain a novelty.”

    Orion is exactly that! It is targetted for all cell phone users. You dont need to have a UBL account. If you have one, you get more features, but the basic ones work without an account in the bank.

  • Well Its great News that UBL launch Mobile banking in Pakistan .. Good Luck Orion Operation Team (I am a part of this team cheers !!!!!)

  • Does anyone know the capitalization of Orion and whether it has private investors as well as UBL itself?

  • i think there is no such great benfit of this service. This is a useless service in my opinion.

  • I asked banks and other promoters of mobile banking about how secure it really is to use your cell phone to check balances, transfer funds, pay bills and perform other financial transactions.

    Without exception, they mentioned how quickly people tend to notice a missing cell phone — some said 18 minutes, some said 38 minutes. That, they said, narrowed the window in which an evildoer could access a mobile-enabled account.
    At this point, of course, there’s not much a bad guy could do with my mobile-bank connection. As the banks like to say, he’d see about the same amount of information he’d get from picking up an ATM receipt.But in pakistan one should be well aware of the security issues.

  • Branchless Banking using SMS technology is not secure, especially if SMS contains PIN or any other personal information. By and large, security of mobile transactions revolve around 2-factors – something I have and something I know, like in case of ATM transactions the plastic card and PIN make the transaction secure. The problem with SMS is that my law, SMS cannot be encrypted and secondly, telecos employees have access to SMS database. In fact, telecos are by law required to maintain records of all SMS being routed through the network.

  • I think USSD base Branchless Banking is much secure and easy as compare to the sms base. Telenor Pakistan and Tameer Bank are first entity who introduced the concept of Branchless Banking using USSD channel in Pakitan. It is easy to pay utility Bills, Transfer money from your mobile. View your account balance using M-Wallet account any many more facilities

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