Mobile Banking has always showed immense scope for growth. A number of companies already have had their M-Commerce and Mobile Money ventures out in the market for some time now. Nokia Money, powered by Obopay, Airtel Money and various other players have existed for a while. Now, more companies are realizing the potential India offers, with a majority of its population being un-banked.
The same way a majority of India connects to the internet via their mobile phones, instead of traditional PC’s, brands feel that more Indians could access financial services from their mobile phones than from traditional banks. This is because of India’s large rural population, where the banking infrastructure is seen as inadequate.
Companies like Vodafone, Airtel, Ericsson and even Western Union and VISA are looking to supply India with M-Banking solutions.
Says Per Borgklint, Ericsson, “Majority of India’s prepaid users operate through Ericsson system. And our system can quickly enable them to be integrated and turn these phones into mobile wallets,” Talking about direct subsidy transfer, Manoj Dawane, VP, Ericsson India, added, “The system provides for storage of discount vouchers, which can then be transferred to the wallet through our prepaid solution in such a way that you can actually demarcate specific amounts for different utilities,”
Fresh out of their partnership with Sony in Sony Ericsson, they have launched ‘Ericsson Converged Wallet‘. Ericsson claim they are open to offers by Indian telecom operators to integrate this service seamlessly in India. We know of Ericsson’s sale of 4G equipment to an Indian Telecom Operator, and if they manage to penetrate the Indian Mobile Banking market, they will become a significant player.
Bharti Airtel‘s CMD, Sunil Mittal, had spoken about the 600 million strong mobile phones being ‘virtual ATM’s’ that are able to service the country’s financially illiterate. What makes M-Banking attractive is that the ground-work has already been done by the mobile and telecom industry. They will be using primarily existing infrastructure to power an entirely new set of services. Western Union too said that they are keenly observing India’s market to launch a mobile payment services. Citing India’s large base of entrepreneurs, they said they saw opportunity in India.
With so many companies having their scopes trained on our market as a potential M-Banking hub, where do you see this headed?
In 5 years from now, will M-Banking be something used by citizens of India from all walks of life? Tell us what do you think.