Last year, India's leading telecom network Vodafone and popular banking solution leader ICICI Bank entered into an alliance to introduce "m-pesa", a mobile money transfer and payment service. The service which was initially launched in West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand through 8,300 authorized agents will now be made available across India.
For those who are not aware, M-Pesa will offer customers to transfer money to any mobile phone in India, remit funds to bank accounts, deposit and withdraw cash from designated outlets, pay utility bills and shop select merchant establishments and more.
According to ICICI Bank, on applying for m-pesa, customers will get a mobile wallet issued by MCSL called "MCSL Wallet" and also a Mobile Money Account with ICICI Bank. The Wallet and the Mobile Money account are completely inter-operable and the customers have an option to transfer money into the Mobile Money account. Those interested can find out nearest m-pesa agent by contacting customer care at 9874355400 (Kolkata) , 7797755400 (West Bengal) or 9534555400 (Bihar). Further, Vodafone customers can directly dial 55400.
"Mobile technology has a critical role to play in servicing the unbanked and underserviced sections of the society...Using M-Pesa, we will provide people in remote areas a convenient way to bank, transfer money and make payments in a safe and secure manner. We have customised our offering to serve the needs of Indian customers while ensuring its compliance with all applicable regulations," said Marten Pieters, managing director and chief executive officer of Vodafone India.
Benefits of m-pesa:
Cash deposit and withdrawal from designated outlets
Money transfer to any mobile phone in India
Range of mobile payment services including purchase of mobile re charge , recharge of dth services and utility bill payments
Money transfer to any bank account in India
Earlier this year, Aircel also partnered with ICICI to bring Mobile money. The service offers various financial services on a mobile phone such as cash deposits and cash withdrawals, money transfer to third parties, self-top-up of prepaid mobile credit and various other utility bill payments.
Looks like Indian telecom operators Aircel and Vodafone are looking capitalize on the popularity mobile banking in the Country. It wouldn't be a surprise to see other other players, entering into the race, as well.