Six months after the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) launched the ambitious Inter Bank Mobile Payments Service, 22 Banks have integrated the service across the country. Around 10 million customers registered for the service in the month of April. However, taking into account transaction data from the month, it seems that the number of people actually using the service is far less. With about 4,000 transactions for a total amount of just about Rs 1.5 crore, IMPS, which was hailed as a revolution in mobile payments, has not seen widespread adoption.

As per the transaction data released by the NPCI, a total of 10,837,000 MMIDs were registered in April 2011. The number of Inter Bank transactions during the month were 2793, amounting to a total value of Rs 1,33,77,086.87. There were 1172 Intra Bank transactions for an amount totaling up to Rs 22,08,087.28 in April. In total, IMPS facilitated 3965 transactions of amount Rs 1,55,85,174.15.

The NPCI had said that it intends to extend the service to internet banking and ATM networks of banks, to widen its reach. Also, after the RBI approving merchant payments through IMPS, utility bill payments, shopping transactions and other payments including fees to various agencies, will be possible through the network.

What’s Preventing Mass Adoption?

The service only charges a transaction fee of Rs 0.10, per successful transaction from remitter banks. Also, banks can charge customers a service fee decided by them. While we don’t expect mass adoption to take place overnight, as you can tell from the statistics above, transactions are limited. Some issues that the NPCI needs to look into:

– Lack of awareness about the service: Most Nationalised Banks including The State Bank Of India, Union Bank of India, Corporation Bank and Punjab National Bank, and private banks such as HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and others, offer IMPS based money transfer services. However, they do not widely promote it. Rather, the only modes of transfer most Banks mention on their Netbanking interface, are NEFT and RTGS. However, there is a list on NPCI’s website, linking out to IMPS pages of (a few)participating Banks.

– Absence of a centralised application: Most participating Banks require customers to download their own mobile banking apps, in order to access IMPS. For example, ICICI Bank customers can only use IMPS through its iMobile app, whereas HDFC Bank customers need the NGPay app to avail the service. Why not use a single app that connects all member banks?

– The need to remember too many PINs & Passwords: Like we said, the number of numbers to remember is a big issue. For banking transactions, you’ll need to remember an MMID, MPIN, apart from an IPIN for Internet banking, and a PIN number for ATM transactions. So, there needs to be a way of switching over to a single PIN.

Integrating IMPS on a single platform

Perhaps, this looks like a step in the right direction. PayMate, the Mayfield Fund, KPCB & Sherpalo funded company which offers mobile payments solutions for Banks, merchants and other financial institutions, will now power IMPS based mobile money transfer services for three banks, namely Syndicate Bank, Lakshmi Vilas Bank and South Indian Bank. Five other banks are in pre-launch stage at this time. PayMate will enable customers of participating banks, to transfer funds upto Rs 50,000, using a hybrid SMS-IVR mode, in addition to mobile apps and SMS, through IMPS.

Interbank Mobile Payment Service Registers 10M Customers; Will Offer Merchant Transactions
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