The National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) has rolled out National Unified USSD platform (NUUP) based mobile banking service to boost IMPS based transactions. Users can dial *99# short code on their handset, which will allow every banking customer to access banking services with a single number across all banks – irrespective of the telecom service provider, mobile handset make or the region.
The service is currently available on MTNL and BSNL telecom operators and with 23 banks including Andhra Bank, State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, Allahabad Bank, State Bank of Hyderabad, Bank of Baroda, State Bank of India, Bank of India, State Bank of Mysore, Canara Bank, State Bank of Patiala, Federal Bank, State Bank of Travancore, ICICI Bank, Syndicate Bank, Indian Bank, Union Bank of India, IDBI Bank, UCO Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Union Bank of India, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Vijaya Bank, Punjab National Bank. NPCI will eventually roll out the service on other telecom operators. Since the service is USSD based, it will work only with GSM telecom operators and not with CDMA. Apart from that, the service does not need users to send an SMS or require a GPRS enabled device and can be used even on a basic mobile handset.
Services available: As of now, users can perform Interbank Mobile Payment Service (IMPS) fund transfer through the service with a daily transaction limit of Rs. 5,000 per customer. NPCI is awaiting permission from RBI to enable other banking services like Balance Enquiry, Mini Statement and Requests for Cheque Book.
How to use: MTNL and BSNL customers need to dial *99# on their mobile handset to avail the service. When users dial *99# for the first time, the service will ask for a 7-digit MMID. MMID or Mobile Money Identifier is a seven digit random number issued by the bank upon registration. Upon entering the MMID, the service will link the customer’s bank account with his mobile number.
Charges: Currently, the customer is not charged to use the service, however, a report by NDTV says that NPCI is paying 25 paise for each transaction to telcos since the starting of the project, three months ago on a pilot basis. This anyhow comes out to be cheaper as the main objective of the initiative is to reduce the burden on ATMs. Currently banks pay Rs 5 to Rs 8 per ATM query.
Related Developments: Last year, NPCI had proposed the use of mobile phones for non-financial banking transactions such as account balance enquiry. In January 2012, the department of telcom had allotted *99# as the USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) code for the NPCI for operating mobile banking services through the channel. NPCI has been pushing mobile banking for a long time now. According to a recent report issued by NPCI, the Interbank Mobile Payment Service saw a growth of 8.02% in the total transactions taking place, with a 1.62 % increase in total number of Mobile Money IDs (MMID).
In June, PayMate, the company which offers mobile payments solutions for Banks, merchants and other financial institutions,had announced that it will power IMPS based mobile money transfer services for three banks, namely Syndicate Bank, Lakshmi Vilas Bank and South Indian Bank, with five other banks are in pre-launch stage, to allow customers to make inter-bank transactions using a hybrid SMS-IVR mode, in addition to mobile apps and SMS, through IMPS.
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