With the aim of integrating all mobile payment systems under one umbrella, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has sought for an approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to make the mobile payments services by telecom companies like Airtel Money and m-wallet services offered by banks, interconnect, reports PTI (via IBNLive). Interestingly, the NPCI intends to deploy a solution bridging the two platforms.

Presently, mobile payments services such as Airtel Money and ZipCash are restricted to semi-closed wallets which don’t allow money to be withdrawn from the wallet. Mobile operators acting as banking correspondents, need to enroll customers into no-frill accounts, and allow money transfer in particular remittance corridors, facilitating cash-outs for beneficiaries through service outlets. So it’s not that simple to transfer and cash-out money via mobile platforms.

The NPCI offers mobile money transfers on its Interbank Mobile Payment Service (IMPS) platform for 39 banks, however, 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.

So, if the two payment products are made inter operable, it could actually lead to more transactions on mobile, and give a boost to m-commerce, as merchant payments can also be integrated. However, we’re not sure if the RBI would be keen on allowing telcos to operate open wallets, since it could allow them to compete with banks at a certain level.

The NPCI is also reportedly in talks with e-commerce websites to allow customers to use IMPS as a payment method, entering their mobile numbers and MMIDs for completing transactions.

With inputs from Shruti Shreya

Related:

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– December 2011: 16.89M IMPS Mobile Money IDs; 15,759 Transactions
– November 2011: 16.04M IMPS Mobile Money IDs; 11,853 Transactions
– October 2011: 15.11M IMPS Mobile Money IDs; 12,511 Transactions
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– Poor Transaction Volumes Despite 14.31M IMPS Mobile Money IDs Issued In India
– July 2011: 11.70M IMPS Mobile Money IDs
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– IMPS To Pilot Merchant Transactions; Should Not Increase Rates
– Why Are Banks Not Promoting The IMPS Money Transfer Service?