Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Reliance, HDFC together launch a virtual credit card – “Mobile credit card”

First mobile phones came with camera, then FM radio and an MP3 player now it is a credit card. Days of ferrying around credit cards seem numbered. The subscribers having Reliance mobile phones will be able to use their mobile phones as credit card.

Reliance Communications and HDFC Bank have joined hands to offer virtual mobile credit cards in the country to Reliance users possessing HDFC Bank credit cards. The virtual credit card called "Reliance mPay Credit Card" will allow its subscribers who also have an HDFC credit card, not to carry plastic to make payments.

Under the scheme, a Reliance mobile phone will get credit card functionality and the mobile number will act as the credit card number.

Users do not have to enter a card number or card verification value (CVV) or expiry date to be able to use the 'mPay' service. HDFC Bank would authenticate all the information with RCom, which would then be used to initiate and authorize all payments using customers' mobile handsets.

“Initially, the service would allow card holders to make payments to merchant partners like Adlabs, Yatra and Billdesk, with the list to be expanded to other partners following the roll out,” Mahesh Prasad, president of the applications, solutions and content group at Reliance Communications said.

At times the customers don’t want to disclose their credit card details online, HDFC Bank, will have an additional payment choice for them. “This is not an exclusive agreement. Over the next few months, we might tie up with more mobile companies as well for similar services,” said CN Ram, country head for IT, said.

"An HDFC Bank customer can now shop using his Reliance mobile and make payment without disclosing details of his credit card," said Rahul Bhagat, country head (retail liabilities), marketing and direct banking channels, HDFC Bank.

RCom asserted that there isn't any financial risk involved in the event users lose their mobile phones; because 'mPay' is PIN-protected. To use the service and make payments, customers need to use the same PIN that has been issued to them at the time of issue of the virtual credit card. Even there is no risk of card skimming or card compromise on the Internet either.

The Reliance 'mPay' credit card allows users to make postpaid bill payments, get pre-paid top-up, and pay Reliance Energy monthly electricity bills. The service will be extended further to allow users book movie- and travel- tickets, make payments at shops and restaurants, and shop on the Internet.

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