Reliance Communications has launched a new service for its pre-paid GSM customers called TalkLoan where customers with low Reliance Communications Logopre-paid account balance can get an instant loan of Rs 5 or Rs 10 for both voice and data services.

Customers can avail the service when their balance dips below Rs 10 by dialing *141#  and selecting the denomination of the instant recharge. The loan amount will be recovered by the company during subsequent recharges with a nominal transaction fee. The TalkLoan recharge does not have a validity period.

A Reliance Communications spokesperson told Medianama that for a Rs 5 TalkLoan taken the customer has to pay back Rs 6, and for a Rs 10 TalkLoan Rs 12 will have to be paid back. He added that at all times, the operator will ensure that there is a minimum balance of Rs 3 in the customer’s account. So if a customer gets a recharge of Rs 10, the amount credited to the account will be Rs 7 and customers will also get an SMS which reminds them of the use of the TalkLoan service.

RCom added that the service will not extend to value-added services (VAS) and is intended for emergencies only. Also note, that this service will be extended to customers who have completed 90 days on Reliance GSM pre-paid service. 

RCom has reported 29.7 million mobile Internet connections for the quarter ended September 30, 2014 (Q2-FY15), up 3.8% from 28.6 million mobile Internet connections in the previous quarter.

Our take: There might be an easier way out for customers for emergencies if the operator is maintaining a Rs 3 balance at all times. Customers could simply ask a friend to transfer some balance into their account. But in a true emergency when no one is around, this could be helpful. And the fact that this transaction is customer driven rather than automated gives customers an idea about what is being deducted from their accounts.