The Reserve Bank of India issued a new set of guidelines for Mobile Banking in India. Some of the changes are welcome, but we believe more are in order: 1. Larger base covered: This is a key change. Mobile Banking can now be offered to customers of banks whether or not they have debit or credit cards. As per the earlier guidelines, it appeared that Mobile Banking was restricted only to debit/credit card holders with bank accounts. That's the difference adding an "or" to section 2.1 has made. 2. Physical verification mandatory, but can be relaxed: In the earlier guideline as per section 3.1, "Banks shall put in place a system of document based registration with mandatory physical presence of their customers, before commencing mobile banking service." There's a loophole now, with the addition of the following sentence: "Reserve Bank would consider relaxation in specific cases while approving the proposals of banks." Our take: do away with a separate physical verification for mobile banking. Physical verification is done separately for opening a bank account and getting a mobile phone connection. Why a third verification for mobile banking? 3. Inter-operability Remains: this is a tough one. Beyond a period of six months, banks will have to offer the mobile banking service with all mobile operators, should the customer decide to switch operators. This has not been modified in the new guidelines. Out take: While interoperability is desirable, it effectively puts banks at the mercy of mobile operators. For example, what if,…
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