Leading Indian private sector bank ICICI Bank has partnered with telecom service provider Aircel to launch a mobile banking service to enable customers to transfer money through mobile phones without connecting to data services.
Called Mobile Money, the services include deposits and cash withdrawals, money transfer to third parties, self-reload of prepaid mobile credit and various utility bill payments. Global payments technology firm Visa will provide and manage the mobile money platform.
The service, to be initially available in Tamil Nadu, will be extended to other parts of the country later this year. "The launch of Mobile Money will enable ICICI Bank to provide banking services through retail outlets of Aircel. These far-flung retail outlets will take the basic banking services practically to the doorsteps of the customers extending the reach of our formal banking channels," said Rajiv Sabharwal, executive director, ICICI Bank.
"Our new mobile managed service removes the time, complexities and cost of setting up mobile payment services - and is built on Visa's trusted and reliable platform. India's financial institutions and telecom operators can now deliver new mobile payment services across the country in no time at all. Visa is increasing the reach of electronic payments beyond Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities by driving affordable access and low cost acceptance," said Uttam Nayak, Visa's group country manager for South Asia.
According to Geoff King, head of mobile banking, Aircel, Mobile Money will deliver financial service solutions to meet the needs of India's unbanked. "Aircel brings to the partnership our mobile network with many millions of small cash transactions through our vast retailer and distributor setup."
(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)