Nokia has launched it’s Nokia Money mobile wallet service across India. The new service is in addition to Nokia’s existing mobile payments service tie-ups with Union Bank of India and Yes Bank, and will essentially be a prepaid mobile wallet through which users can load cash on their mobile phones via Nokia dealers and pay utility bills, phone top-ups, insurance premiums and tickets among other payments. Nokia Money will be independent of mobile operator and we assume that it will also be independent of the handset brand, as Nokia informed us, in the past. Which means there would be no need to replace the SIM card unlike Airtel Money. The blog post suggests that the primary interface of the service would be SMS. As we noted in one of our previous posts, Nokia has been pre-loading its Obopay mobile banking applications on new phones.

So Nokia will now have two different product offerings in the mobile payments segment: one will be an independent prepaid wallet and the other one a full-fledged payments service based on its Banking Correspondent tie-ups. While, the prepaid wallet will allow users to load cash on their mobile phones through Nokia dealers for basic payments, competing with the likes of Beam, Loop Mobile’s service with ZipCash and Airtel Money, its existing services Union Bank Money and Yes Bank Money will be an upgrade that will allow person to person money transfer, and cash withdrawals,  in addition to payments and will be like a no-frills bank account with the respective banks. Of course, the latter will require more documentation and follow stringent KYC (Know your Customer norms), which the prepaid wallet does not need.

Although, Nokia can take advantage of its large dealer network in India to sustain the prepaid payments product, it would need merchant tie-ups at the local level, if it wants to reach out to the masses.

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– Nokia Stores will be business correspondents for Union Bank of India