As per the agreement, MMP has been appointed as a business correspondent of ICICI Bank for this service and consumers can walk into any retail outlet of MMP to deposit the cash and provide details of the payee, following which the money will be transferred to the bank account of the payee through existing electronic fund transfer mechanisms like NEFT and IMPS among others.
While the financial details of the tie-up were not disclosed, Tata Teleservices stated that MMP will be enabling consumers to transfer money without opening an account and charging a nominal fee for the service. There is currently no word on the exact fee charged through the service. The operator also added that the service will be initially available in Mumbai and Delhi, followed by other parts of the country.
mRupee Service: It’s worth noting that MMP Mobi Wallet Payment Systems had received Reserve Bank of India’s approval in December 2011, to offer a prepaid payment instrument called ‘mRupee‘. According to the company website, this service allowed users to send money to any mRupee wallet and bank account of their friends and family as well as make Tata Indicom and Tata Docomo bill payments and purchase prepaid recharges.
The service had an initial one-time registration fee of Rs 80 and a mandatory cash-in of Rs 100 to open the wallet. It’s currently not clear if this new service is just an extension of mRupee service or it is an entirely new service.
Other Developments: Last week, five banks including SBI, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and Axis Bank had partnered with the payments company Visa and UIDAI to launch an Aadhaar-based instant prepaid card service called Saral Money. The National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) had also rolled out National Unified USSD platform (NUUP) based mobile banking service in a bid to improve IMPS based transactions in the country.
In November 2012, Vodafone had tied up with ICICI Bank to extend its mobile money transfer and payment service ‘M-Pesa’ to India. The company was offering this service through its wholly owned subsidiary Mobile Commerce Solutions Ltd (MCSL) and had rolled out the service in the eastern region including West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand among others.
ICICI Bank had also launched 25 self service e-branches across 18 cities including in metro and tier II cities to enable 24*7 banking transactions in August 2012. Apart from that, it had launched a Tablet based account opening mechanism called ‘Tab Banking’, a POS terminal with in-built GPRS and WiFi connectivity called ‘Bank-on-move’ and a virtual online locker called ‘E-Locker’.
State-run BSNL had also partnered with State Bank Of India (SBI) to launch its mobile banking services via USSD platform while Bharti Airtel had a similar tie up with Axis Bank to launch Airtel Money Super Account powered by Axis Bank, which essentially offered a no-frills accounts with the Bank on Airtel’s mobile platform.