We contacted Rajeev Arora, Director – Products and Operations, FINO on this development and he said that the service has been live for quite some time now. We have also requested Arora for an interaction on this and will update the article once we hear from him.
According to its website, FINO says that this is a telecom operator, handset and operating system agnostic service, and the wallet will work across various transaction platforms like mobile phone, Internet and ATM among others.
Offerings: At the time of writing this article, Alpha Payment Services offers two different products – Union Bank Money and Alpha Money. Union Bank Money is a prepaid open wallet service launched in collaboration with Union Bank of India, which will offer services like money transfer services between bank accounts or mobile phones, mobile and DTH recharge, ATM cash withdrawals, offline and online merchant payments and bill payments.
The company claims that the service is currently available in more than 10 states in India and will be available in multiple languages including English and Hindi through SMS, IVR (Interactive Voice Response) and mobile apps. As per the company’s website, one can sign up for a mobile money account for Rs 111, however its currently not clear as to how one can actually register for the service.
On the other hand, Alpha Money is an enterprise solution which offers customized cash management, salary and reimbursement payment modules to businesses. The company claims that it is currently working with businesses across various segments like insurance and fleet management among others.
Nokia Money Acquisition: Blackstone backed mobile financial services firm FINO had acquired Nokia Money in India for an undisclosed amount in June 2012, following which it had formed a new entity called Alpha Payment Services India Private Limited. FINO was also looking to launch a service called Takatak Money, which will be operator and bank agnostic and will offer services like money transfers, utility bill payments, and mobile & DTH recharges among others. Back then, FINO had claimed to have a network of 31,000 transaction points, 50,000 villages and 50 million customers.
Other Services: Last month, mobile payments platform, Beam Money, had partnered with MasterCard Worldwide to launch a prepaid card that will allow Beam’s mobile wallet users to transact at ATMs, physical merchants and online shops. Telecom operator Aircel had also partnered with ICICI Bank and the global payments company Visa to launch a mobile banking service called Mobile Money, targeting the underbanked population.
In January 2013, State Bank of India had launched a prepaid mobile wallet service called Mobicash Easy, that allows users to transfer funds and make bill payment among others.
In December 2012, five Indian banks including SBI, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and Axis Bank had partnered with Visa to launch an instant prepaid card service called Saral Money that allowed users to open a bank account using their Aadhar card for know your customer (KYC) validation.