A Little World, which has developed the a Near Field Communication based mobile payments solution called Zero, has sold 20% stake for Rs. 80 crore to State Bank of India, reports Financial Express. ALW is a banking correspondent for SBI, apart from 14 other banks in the country, including Dena Bank, Andhra Pradesh Grameena Vikas Bank, Punjab National Bank, Axis Bank, among others. However, the Financial Express report quotes unnamed sources as saying that most of SBI’s financial inclusion work will be through ALW now. ALW has Enam, Caspian Advisors and Dubai based Legatum Ventures as investors.

ALW’s Zero platform allows Biometric Identity verification, Cash deposit, Cash withdrawals, Money transfer, NREGA / Pensions, microcredit, micro-insurance, utility payments etc. It uses NFC mobile phones, contact-less RFID Smart Cards and biometric authentication for transactions. There’s also a mobile version (mZERO) for over-the-counter and remote payments.

Interestingly, mobile payments co mChek was sold off by ALW in 2006 to an independent special purpose vehicle formed through a co-investment from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Rajesh Jain and Dr. Syed A.R. Zaidi (former Angel Investors in ALW). ALW was also responsible for “Go-Mumbai”, contact-less smart cards for automatic fare collection in BEST buses and platforms, sold to an independent SPV formed by Capivest in May 2006. ALW retains exclusive rights for use of the Go-Mumbai in NFC mobile phones and Dual Interface SIMs. ALW has relationships with Nokia (NFC mobile), NXP Semiconductors (RFID), Sagem Securite (Biometrics), SmartTrust (WIB application), Watchdata (SIMs).

According to Financial Express, ALW helped banks open 60 lakh no-frills accounts through 10,000 microbranches which operate out of grocery shops or individuals.

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