Idea Money

Idea Cellular seems to have launched its mobile money service ‘Idea Money‘, eight months after receiving a mobile wallet license from the Reserve Bank Of India. The service is being provided by Idea Mobile Commerce Services, the mobile banking subsidiary of Idea Cellular.

Similar to other mobile money services, Idea Money will apparently allow Idea subscribers to conduct various transactions like prepaid mobile recharges, DTH recharges, utility bill payments and postpaid bill payments among others.

It will also enable them to make money transfers to another Idea Money customer or through NEFT. Note that Idea has a partnership with Axis Bank for providing these mobile money transfer services. Going forward, Idea Money can also apparently be used to pay for shopping transactions and ticket bookings like travel, movies, events and others. We’ve written to Idea Cellular for more details on this and will update the article once we hear back.

Registration: According to Idea Money website, Idea subscribers can register for the service by dialling *400# on their phone and providing requisite details like first and last name, date of birth and gender. Following this, users will have select a 4-digit secret mPIN which will be used in all future Idea Money transactions.

My colleague Riddhi tried registering for the service on an Idea connection, but he got a message saying “user is not active or not registered in the mobiquity application”. It’s possible that this issue will be fixed by the time Idea officially launches this service. The message also suggests that Idea is probably using Mahindra Comviva’s digital wallet solution mobiquity for this service. Note that Comviva allows merchants to bundle location-based promotions which is one of the upcoming features of Idea Money.

As an alternate registration mode, users can also walk into their nearest Idea Money Retailer, fill up an application form along with an identity proof and address proof. Idea also mentions that users will have to pay a specific enrollment fees to retailers, although there is no word on the exact payable fees.

Idea Money+: Like Airtel, Idea Cellular also seems to offer two types of accounts for Idea Money: a basic account and a Idea Money+ account. While there are no specific details on what both accounts will offer yet, it is likely that the basic account will be a no-frills account with support for limited services while Idea Money+ will probably have a higher spending limit and access to full range of its services.

Payment Banks: This launch comes at a time when RBI has released draft guidelines to allow telecom operators and wallet companies to set up Payment Banks, for enabling deposits for money transfer and payments. 

Following this, RBI had recommended that the existing and new PPI issuer applicants should instead be required to apply for a Payments Bank licence or become Business Correspondents (BCs). This means that, in all probability, most PPI licensees will look to apply for a Payment Banks license. (Also read: India’s Payment Banks: What’s not in there – Anand Raman)

Other telcos who have mobile money services 

– Airtel’s mobile money service Airtel Money is possibly the largest player in the country at the moment. The company had reported an active base of 1.7 million users in India in Q4-FY14 while the total number of transactions was at 38 million for the quarter and the total amount transacted was at Rs 1,364.2 crore.

– Last month, Vodafone India’s mobile money service M-Pesa had reported 0.3 million active users for the quarter ended June 30, 2014. M-Pesa had completed its pan-India rollout earlier this year.

– Tata DOCOMO has a license through its wholly owned subsidiary MMP Mobi Wallet Payment Systems and had partnered with ICICI Bank for mRupee money transfer and payment service. Last December, the telco had stated plans to extend the service to 26 Indian cities by the end of this fiscal (FY-14).

– Reliance Jio which has a pan-India unified license had also received a mobile wallet license for a prepaid payment instrument called ‘Jio Money’ in November 2013.