India Post has partnered with Mobile payments platform, Beam Money to roll out its payment services in 29 post offices across Uttarkhand including Dehradun, Almora, Roorkee, Nainital, Rishikesh, among others.
While the deal period or the financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed, Beam Money said that this partnership will allow users to avail services like mobile, data card, DTH recharges, utility payments, rail, air & bus tickets, cinema tickets and E-commerce payments in 29 post officers across Uttarkhand. Note that this service does not require users to have a credit, debit card or net banking facilities.
Beam currently offers a prepaid mobile wallet which provides services like remote payments, telecom and DTH recharge, rail, air and bus bookings, cinema tickets, utility payments, among others. The company claims that it had earlier partnered with 100 Post Offices across Tamil Nadu to provide air ticketing services to customers.
This service essentially is the reverse of providing digital payments. However, this is an interesting offering for two reasons — Firstly, the credit and debit card penetration is low in rural regions and net banking is also not widely used in these geographies. And secondly, India Post has an extensive distribution network across the country, which means that customers will not have to travel long distances to avail these services. Offering a bouquet of services in a single location where services such as eCommerce payment, mobile, DTH recharge, air ticket reservation are not easily available could help Beam to target both rural and urban population. It will be interesting to see if India Post extends its Beam partnership to other cities as well.
The company had claimed to have more than 14 million users in India as of January 2013 and claimed to have more than 50,000 partners in the country including Aircel, Airtel, BSNL, Idea, MTS, MTNL Delhi and Mumbai, Reliance, Tata Indicom and Tata Docomo, Vodafone, Videocon, Uninor, Tata Sky, Videcon D2H, Airtel Digital, Sun Direct, Reliance Big, and Dish TV.
Earlier this year, it had launched a mobile wallet app for the iPhone, called Beam Wallet, which allowed iPhone users to use the Beam Money service on their phones. It had also partnered with MasterCard Worldwide to launch a prepaid card that will allow Beam’s mobile wallet users to transact at ATMs, physical merchants and online shops.
India Post and Digitization
Lately, it seems that India Post has diversified into various online services. In April 2013, India Post was looking to launch a delivery service for e-retailer. It had also partnered with Infosys in March 2013, to develop and manage a Service Delivery Platform (SDP) that will allow more than 130,000 rural post offices to offer online services. Infosys had also partnered with India Post in August 2012, to develop financial services operations and end-user experience for more than 200 million banking customers across urban and rural India, which included a large base of insurance customers.
It had also launched a mobile money transfer service with state owned telco BSNL in November 2012, following a five month pilot in Punjab, Bihar, Delhi and Kerala circles.