India’s largest private sector lender ICICI Bank has introduced a new digital payments product  for mobiles, which integrates a digital wallet, a physical prepaid card and a basic savings bank account. The product named Pockets is now available for download on Google Play for Android devices. The bank added that the wallet will be introduced for iOS and Windows Phone devices soon.

ICICI Bank wallet

It’s worth noting that ICICI Bank had launched a Facebook banking application called Pockets in 2013 and the bank added that the new wallet was an extrapolation of the existing product.

How it works

The e-wallet can be downloaded by anyone (including customers of other banks) and can be funded by any existing debit/credit card or bank account. The wallet allows users to send money to any e-mail id, mobile number , friends on Facebook and even bank accounts directly. Beneficiaries will receive a link which will direct them to a secure page where they have to enter their bank account details to get the money credited to their account. Customers with non-ICICI Bank accounts will be charged NEFT transaction fees.

The wallet uses a virtual VISA card which enables users to transact on any website or mobile application in India. Customers can also request for a physical card to use it at any retail outlet (the bank says it will deliver the physical card in 24 hours). Note, the wallet and the prepaid physical card has a transaction limit of Rs 10,000 per month and the physical prepaid card cannot be used to withdraw cash from ATMs.

Customers who wish to transact more than the prescribed wallet limits can transact from their linked bank accounts or choose to add a zero-balance savings account to the wallet. The zero-balance account also allows customers to earn interest on their idle money.

Security features

We’ve seen a number of digital payments products which have come up, but somehow found them a bit flimsy on the security ground. But the new Pockets seems to address some of those issues. After downloading the application, customers need to create an account with details like name, mobile number, email id and physical address. Users then will receive a one-time password on  the mobile number to create a user id and password. While sending money, the wallet again asks for a one-tie password which we felt added another layer of security.

Other players

Rival HDFC Bank partnered with mobile payments company Chillr and introduced a similar payments solution. The app allows users to pick pretty much any bank in the country, however as of now only HDFC Bank customers can carry out outgoing transactions, while customers of other banks can only receive money.

Last month, Kotak Mahindra Bank launched a new savings account product aimed at the tech-savvy crowd. The new product known as Jifi Saver can be managed via a customer’s Twitter and Facebook pages. The bank had also launched KayPay, a bank agnostic payment product for Facebook users to send money to each other.