India Post has tied-up with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to launch a mobile based money order service, reports The Hindu Business Line. Most media reports indicate that, initially it will be piloted in Punjab and Bihar, and will be later extended to other parts of the country, in a period of eight weeks. However, according to The Financial Express, the pilot would last eight weeks, and the service will be made pan-India in two years time. We have not been able to verify this, since there’s no official announcement on the Indiapost website.

Why can’t BSNL act as a Banking Correspondent?

This much looks like an extension of India Post’s Instant Money Order service, however, it looks like BSNL is only a technology provider/enabler and not a Banking Correspondent. Users need not be BSNL customers to use the service.

We wonder why its not, since BSNL, whose reach extends to rural areas, could use its outlets for sending and receiving money, through India Post’s money order. It could have played a bigger role by facilitating remittances through a bigger network, for the unbanked.

Under the plan, select post offices will be equipped with mobile phones with a special application, which will facilitate the process. Senders need to visit these post offices, deposit the amount and give the receiver’s details. After this, he would get a 16 digit transfer code on his mobile phone, which he would need to send to the recipient via SMS. The recipient can claim the money at a nearby post office, by showing the transaction code and verifying his identity.

It is not clear whether a recipient can get the money home-delivered. Similar to the Instant Money Order service, the maximum limit for transaction is set at Rs 50,000, and commission charges of 5% will be levied. According to Secretary of Posts, Radhika Doraiswamy, the Department of Post intends to connect all 1,55,000 post offices, across the country, for core post office operations and introduce a Savings bank, for which clearances are being sought. It also plans to reduce money order commission charges.

A few months back, India Post had launched a revamped online portal, dubbed as the e-Post Office, sporting a flashy look.

With Inputs from Anupam Saxena

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