When it comes to mobile transactions, the State Bank of India is clearly (pardon the jargon) the “elephant in the room”. Now they’re expanding their reach by providing mobile banking services to customers of Reliance Communications. Remember that SBI has also formed a joint venture with Bharti Airtel for mobile remittances and money transfer, and at that time, the Chairman of SBI had said that that was an exclusive tie-up.
So we’re not sure of what was exclusive about that deal, since SBI is also offering its customers on RCOM “balance inquiry, mini statement, fund transfer, cheque book issuance, mobile recharge and bill payment”. Undoubtedly, SBI will have to forge tie-ups with all telecom operators to maximise the reach of its service offerings. The service for RCOM GSM customers is USSD based, a feature that isn’t available to CDMA customers – RCOM customers who have an active current/ savings account with SBI will have to have to register for the services with SBI, and dial *595# to view menu choices and key-in whether they want to view account balance, get mini statements, do Fund Transfer, change MPIN or recharge their mobile account. Transaction information will be sent to them via SMS.
The State Bank of India, India’s largest public sector bank, dominates mobile transactions in terms of both volumes and value, accounting for 529,318 transactions (74.81% of total) and Rs. 32.63 crore transacted (52.96% of total) in February 2011.
Note that the Reserve bank of India defines ‘mobile banking transactions’ as follows “undertaking banking transactions using mobile phones by bank customers that involve credit/debit to their accounts. It also covers accessing the bank accounts by customers for non-monetary transactions like balance enquiry etc.”