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Aircel Ties Up With ICICI Bank & Visa To Launch A Mobile Money Service

Telecom operator Aircel has partnered with ICICI Bank and the global payments company Visa to launch (pdf) a mobile banking service called Mobile Money, targeting the underbanked population.

While the financial details of the partnership were not disclosed, the company said that Visa will be deploying its mobile managed service on the platform and and will be responsible for managing it. Mobile Money will be initially available in Chennai followed by other parts of Tamil Nadu and the rest of the country in 2013.


According to the company, the service will allow customers to deposit, withdraw and transfer money as well as make utility bill payments and self-reload prepaid mobile credit. Users can send a minimum of Rs 100 and a maximum of Rs 50,000 at a time through the service and there is an yearly limit of Rs 2,00,000 per person, as indicated by a similar The Hindu Businessline report.

The report also states that Aircel and ICICI have set up 13 outlets in Chennai with around 30 business correspondents in Tirunelveli, to allow customer deposit money with business correspondents for transfer purposes. Interestingly, customers need not have an ICICI bank account to make use of the service and they will be charged about 1-1.5% commission on each transaction.

Other services

Last month, Mobile value added services company Comviva had inked a strategic collaboration with MasterCard Worldwide and Tutuka to introduce financial inclusion solutions in Africa. State Bank of India had also launched a prepaid mobile wallet service called Mobicash Easy, which allows users to transfer funds and make bill payment among others. The service was initially available in Delhi and Mumbai, and was expected to be eventually rolled out in other regions.

In December 2012, Tata Teleservices signed a strategic tie-up with ICICI Bank, through its wholly owned subsidiary MMP Mobi Wallet Payment Systems to launch a money transfer service. MMP was appointed as a business correspondent of ICICI Bank for this service and consumers can walk into any retail outlet of MMP to deposit the cash and provide details of the payee, following which the money will be transferred to the bank account of the payee through existing electronic fund transfer mechanisms like NEFT and IMPS among others.

In the same month, five Indian banks including SBI, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and Axis Bank had partnered with Visa to launch Saral Money, an instant prepaid card service that allows users to open a bank account using their Aadhar card for know your customer (KYC) validation. Yes Bank had also launched a mobile point of sale (mPOS) solution that allowed GPRS enabled mobile phones to be converted into Point of Sale terminal while the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) had rolled out National Unified USSD platform (NUUP) based mobile banking service in a bid to improve IMPS based transactions in the country.

In November 2012, Vodafone had partnered with ICICI Bank to extend its mobile money transfer and payment service ‘M-Pesa’ to India in November 2012. The service was initially launched in the eastern region including West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand among others, followed by a phased rollout in other parts of the country.

Vodafone had also inked a deal with HDFC Bank in November 2011, allowing them to work as a business correspondent for the bank and launch a similar m-Paisa service. At launch, the service was available only in Rajasthan but Vodafone had noted (pdf) in its 2012 annual report that it intends to roll out the service pan-India in 2012. Interestingly, the company had mentioned this service as m-Pesa in its report, although the service was a bank-linked initiative and didn’t offer a prepaid wallet based payment system, as we had pointed out before.

In July 2012, State-run BSNL had partnered with State Bank Of India (SBI) to launch its mobile banking services via USSD platform while Bharti Airtel had inked a similar tie up with Axis Bank to launch Airtel Money Super Account powered by Axis Bank, which essentially offered a no-frills accounts with the Bank on Airtel’s mobile platform.

 Also read:

Money on Mobile Clocks 32.5M Users In 2012; Transaction Margins
Visa Says Telcos Are Blocking Its USSD Payments Service; Tie-Up With UIDAI
Yes Bank Launches Online Remittance Service Yes Remit

(With Inputs From Vikas SN)

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