Having decided against applying for a payment bank licence as some of its rivals have done, ICICI Bank today launched a mobile phone-based product that offers a slew of new-age services.
The new integrated mobile banking service is called 'Pockets', and ICICI Bank Managing Director and Chief Executive Chanda Kochhar claimed that this is the country's first digital bank on a mobile phone.
Asked if this is the private lender's answer to the proposed payment banks, for which as many as 41 companies/ individuals, including SBI through RIL, have applied, Kochhar said, "why wait for payment banks to come into existence, here we are already offering the same".
'Pockets' integrates a digital wallet, a physical pre- paid card and a basic savings bank account, she said. The idea came from the fact that today almost 50 per cent of all retail transactions at her bank are being carried out on the mobile and Internet platforms, Kochhar said.
"We have seen a 200 per cent rise in mobile banking with the aggregate amount being close to Rs 7,400 crore so fact this fiscal over the previous year." ICICI Bank Executive Director Rajiv Sabharwal said that people are using mobiles in a big way to access Internet, while the PC-based net use is declining.
One can fund the e-wallet from any bank account in the country and start transacting immediately. It requires no documentation or branch visit. Those who opt for a physical card, which will then act a like pre-paid card or debit card, will have to pay Rs 99 as processing fee, Sabharwal said.
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It can be used to pay on all websites and mobile apps and allows users to instantly send/request money to/from any e-mail id, mobile number,friends on Facebook and bank account. The e-wallet users can pay bills, recharge mobiles, book movie tickets, order food, send physical and e-gifts, split and share expenses with friends by using this e-wallet, Sabharwal said.
Users can also choose to add a zero-balance savings account to the wallet. The launch of 'Pockets' comes on the heels of a slew of innovative services from the lender like Windows version of iMobile, new apps for mobile banking, fully automated 24x7 touch banking branches, tab banking and the first contactless debit and credit cards.