IIPM makes record 10,000 placements in five years
Certainly, growth in the mobile subscriber base (since 2002 India has evidenced 94% CAGR in mobile telephony and has reached a subscriber base of 347 million) is definitely a reason to offer this service, but it’s not the only reason. Factors like ubiquitous reach, convenience, time saving, and low costs are some other key advantages influencing mobile subscribers to become mobile banking users. “From the bank point of view, mobile banking helps cut down costs as it is even more economical than branch banking or any other mode of electronic banking like ATMs and online banking. If accepted by consumers, mobile banking will cost one-fifth what ATMs cost and only 40% what Internet banking costs per transaction,” reasons Rajan.
Apart from this, mobile banking can also act as an effective tool to bring unbanked rural customers into the banking umbrella. In regions where accessibility, infrastructure, illiteracy, and foolproof identity are still issues, banks and service providers are considering mobile banking as an effective and robust tool to carry on banking activities. For banks, it is nearly impossible to build a retail brick-and-mortar infrastructure in rural India, thus making mobile banking the best available alternative with a relatively low investment.
Though the numbers that these banks are quoting (as far as mobile banking is concerned) are still relatively low, what is impressive is the pace with which these numbers are growing. In fact at the end of 2008, private banks like ICICI, IDBI, HDFC and Kotak had close to 12.5 million registered users for mobile banking. Even public sector banks are not behind when it comes to the use of mobile as an interface to interact with their huge customer base. While India’s largest lender, State Bank of India (SBI), has reported adding more than 20,000 customers in the last two months – just in mobile banking, the Union Bank of India (UBI) has seen it’s mobile banking customer base increase from 1,700 in June to over 11,000 in August. In fact, banks are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to testing the efficacy of their mobile banking initiative before launching it on a pan India basis.
HDFC Bank, for instance, has tied up with Bharti Airtel (the telecom service provider) and Eko (the technology provider) to launch the ‘Abhilasha’ savings account. This is a pilot-project that has enabled over 2,000 low-income individuals in Uttam Nagar, West Delhi, to access banking facilities without having to visit bank branches. In this pilot phase, chemist shops, general stores, residents, NGOs, or individuals can register to become an authorised outlet. These authorised outlets will then help mobile banking customers conduct banking transactions which include facilities like money transfer, cash deposit and withdrawal, wage and salary disbursements, micro-insurance, microcredit, and payments on behalf of the bank. To make it happen the mobile banking services are powered to the customers on all mobile phones including the most basic models, without WAP or GPRS applications.
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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2010.
An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).
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