Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mobile driven remittances starts making a strong foothold in India

In India soon people will be able to use their mobiles for transferring of funds. Mobile driven remittances is making a strong foothold in India. Customers would be able to transfer funds from their mobile phone to friends or relatives, bypassing other remittance routes like net-banking and money orders. Even though, the recipient does not have a bank account or ATM card.

Standard Chartered Bank in the first move of its kind has introduced a cardless cash withdrawal scheme which will enable a StanChart customer to transfer funds from an ATM to any person in the country who has a mobile phone.

In the second phase of its implementation the bank have plans of making this possible through the sender’s mobile itself, and in due course the service will be extended to international fund transfers.

Banks are upgrading their technological platforms to include mobile-based services, in order to make banking conveniently accessible and customer-friendly. Recently ICICI Bank launched a mobile banking platform, which will replicate all internet-banking transactions on the cell phone.

Its not only that the big banks are improving, also the public sector bank Corporation Bank and Pune-based co-operative bank Cosmos Bank have already signed an agreement with mobile-payments provider PayMate to offer customers with SMS-based payments services.

With the introduction of mobile remittance service a StanChart account holder can go to an ATM and opt for the cardless transfer. On giving the mobile number of the recipient, the account holder will get an order number from the ATM. The sender then needs to pass on the order number to the beneficiary, while the bank will send a personal identification number (PIN) to the latter’s phone.

The recipient will be required to go to a StanChart ATM, enter the combination of the PIN and order number and withdraw the cash within 24 hours of receiving the message. As told by StanChart head of consumer transaction banking and strategic initiatives CDK Sai Narain, there will be a limit on such transfers at Rs 10,000 per transaction and Rs 20,000 per day.

The transfer will be instant and the amount will be debited in the sender’s account only when the amount has been withdrawn. In initial stage the system will work only on the StanChart ATM network, but there is a scope of being expanded to the CashNet ATM network, according to Euronet Services India managing director Loney Anthony.

Also, the bank has plans of making this particular process possible entirely through the mobile phone. StanChart has also signed an agreement with PayMate to allow customers to book air and movie tickets directly through their cell phone while also allowing customers to pay through mobile phones at restaurants.

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