|Image courtesy of watblog|
With mobile phones reaching over 650 million people in India, banks and mobile service providers are hard at work hoping to provide financial services on the mobile device. The country is still growing in financial and banking like the rest of the economy and banks reach much much less that what mobile service providers do.
Indian mobile banking was taken much further, recently by Bharti Airtel and Vodafone when both announced different ventures related to mobile banking.. Bharti Airtel Announced a partnership with the State Bank of India while Vodafone agreed to become a Business Correspondent for ICICI Bank.
Airtel and SBI will invest about Rs one billion to set up the joint venture which will engage Airtel's retailers as Customer Service Points (CSP) all over India in a phased manner.Once deployed existing and new Airtel mobile customers will be able to visit these CSPs and open new SBI bank accounts and utilize banking products and services available at these CSPs. In Addition,existing SBI customers will be able to reach their accounts via these CSPs.
The ICICI Bank and Vodafone Essar Ltd venture will offer a range of financial products similar to the above, such as savings accounts, pre-paid instruments and credit products through a mobile phone platform.Vodafone is hoping to replicate its success in Kenya and other countries where it has 20 million customers for financial services.
Nokia was among the first to start mobile payment services with a pilot projects in Pune, Chandigarh and Nasik in partnership with Yes Bank. Those pilots are now ready to go commercial.
“Mobile payments will be the next step for delivering financial services to hundreds of millions of “underbanked” people or those who are under-served currently, both urban and rural customers, especially in emerging economies. Our vision is to make mobile money part of our phones just like we have made camera an integral part of the handset, ... Technology is not an issue but getting the ecosystem in place is the important part. We have partnered with utility companies, telecom firms, gas companies to enable mobile payment,” says Gerhard Romen, Director, Mobile Financial Services, NokiaBut the new comers are not planing to hand over the crown yet,
“Since more than 90 per cent of the mobile subscriber base is pre-paid, consumers are used to paying upfront at a mobile retail shop. The comfort factor is very important, especially when we are dealing with money,” says Samaresh Parida, Director (Strategy), Vodafone Essar. Vodafone.
“India thus provides an ideal case for leveraging low-cost mobile services to provide financial inclusion to the un-banked population in the country. SBI is interested in inclusion and Airtel is a microcosm of India and increasingly rural, so both will leverage the expertise of the parent organisations to provide low-cost, secure, easy-to-use banking services,” says Sriram Jagannathan, CEO, mCommerce, Bharti Airtel.Perhaps, there is a lesson to learn for our service providers and banks are looking to provide mobile payments, with merchants like Starbucks taking their own initiatives to provide a way to pay for cup of coffee with mobile phones.
Hindubusinessline Via IP Carrier (Image from watblog)