Vodafone India and ICICI Bank have inked a strategic alliance to launch mobile money transfer and payment service called ‘m-pesa’. This mobile money service will be available to all Vodafone customers and has been launched through its 100% subsidiary, Mobile Commerce Solutions Ltd.
m-pesa can essentially be termed as mobile wallet, where subscribers can create a mobile money account and make payments at various establishment or transfer money to any bank or mobile account using only their mobile phones. M-Pesa features include:
- Cash deposit and withdrawal from designated outlets
- Money transfer to any mobile phone in India
- Range of mobile payment services including purchase of mobile recharge, recharge of DTH services and utility bill payments
- Money transfer to any bank account in India
- Payments at select shops
m-pesa service will utilize Vodafone’s Pan-India distribution network, who will act as the agents of m-pesa. The service will be launched phase wise, where it will initially be launched in Kolkata, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand and will then be rolled out across India.
The press release sent to us does not talk about how consumers will get m-pesa services on their mobile. Whether it will come in form of an app, or whether it will be SMS based etc. needs to be seen.
m-pesa is not first one to offer mobile wallet and mobile money features. Other operators like Airtel have launched their Mobile money services over a year back. Similarly, Reliance also is offering Mobile money to its subscribers. Couple of years back, Nokia had launched mobile money with Axis Bank, but they decided to close it down earlier this year as part of company restructuring.
In a country like India, millions still do not have basic banking services. With mobile getting proliferated in every nook and corner of the country, it becomes a great platform to enable basic banking and financial services to millions of people, especially in rural areas.