Students To Use Identity Cards As BCEL ATM Cards

BCEL Student Cards

Students can now use their identity cards to withdraw money from ATMs thanks to cooperation between Banque pour le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public (BCEL) and the National University of Laos (NUOL). An official ceremony to unveil the new cards was held at the university in Vientiane on Wednesday, presided over by the Deputy Minister of Education and Sports, Associate Prof. Dr Kongsy Sengmany and the Vice Governor of the Bank of the Lao PDR, Mr Sonxay Sithphaxay. It was attended by BCEL Director General Mr Vankham Voravong, the China UnionPay CEO and Vice Chairman of UnionPay International, Mr Xu Luode, NUOL Vice President Associate Prof. Dr Saykhong Saynasinh, other government officials, teachers and students.

The bank has upgraded its ATM service by replacing ATMs that would only work domestically with UnionPay ATMs in 2011, working in cooperation with China UnionPay, Mr Vankham explained. Since then the number of ATM cards has increased rapidlyand last month customers were using almost 300,000 cards. BCEL has installed more than 200 ATM units and about 1,300 Electronic Data Capture (EDC) machines in shops throughout the country, he said. To promote new technology and innovation and satisfy popular demand, the bank is introducing this technology into the education sector to provide better services, Mr Vankham said. These cards will make it easier for students to handle their money matters and make payments for school fees, textbooks and other items using their ATM cards, he said, because using cards is safer than carrying cash. BCEL signed an agreement last month to cooperate with six public and private educational institutions in Vientiane, issuing student identity cards which also serve as ATM cards to students from Pakpasak Technical College, Dongkhamxang Teacher Training College, the Institute of Economy and Finance, Dongkhamxang Agriculture Technical School, Settha Business Administration College, and the Lao-German Technical School. The bank has also partnered with the Banking Institute, the National University of Laos, Savannakhet University, Souphanouvong University, and Champassak University to issue these cards, Mr Vankham said.

Under the BCEL-UnionPay and Student Card Project, the bank expects to issue more than 50,000 cards to students at various educational institutes. In Laos, the use of such cards will result in greater use of the kip and will help familiarise students with banking procedures and services when studying abroad. “This cooperation project will modernise the use of student identity cards and help students to access bank technology  just as they do other forms of technology,” Mr Vankham said. If the project is of significant benefit to educational institutes and students, the bank hopes to link the system with people’s identity cards to allow them to serve as ATM cards in the future, he added.

BCEL to close temporarily

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Vientiane Times, Phathet Lao Daily
26 April, 2013