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Visa, Movida, ICICI Bank expand mobile banking services to make India cashless

Visa Inc. and Monitise’s joint venture, Movida, has partnered with India’s largest bank ICICI Bank to expand its mobile payments service.

The mobile payments company launched last December after partnering with India’s second largest bank, HDFC. With the addition of ICICI, Movida will be able to reach more Indian consumers.

“Our goal is to digitize the use of money instead of using cash,” said Sam Shawki, global head of mobile remote payments at Visa Inc., San Francisco. “We promote growth and try to remove friction from companies that are providing services that would make it very easy for you to conduct financial transactions on mobile.”

“Movida enables you to do things remotely,” he said. “Regardless of whether it’s a smartphone or not, you can pay your bill, you can top up your account with money, you can top up a friend’s account with money, without having to travel across villages and stand in long lines.”

Mobile payments
Movida’s service is available on smartphones and feature phones. It is also available for any payment card.

Consumers can pay via SMS, phone calls, USSD and a Web portal. The company plans to roll out a mobile application as well in the near future.

As of now, Movida lets consumers pay for services such as mobile account, utility bills, movie tickets and train tickets. The company plans to expand to more services such as traffic tickets and retirement plan payments.

When consumers link their payment card to their phone number that is registered with ICICI bank, they will receive a unique PIN number to ensure secure transactions.

A consumer can then text *575# or dial 022-6612-6575 to use the payment services. He or she can then choose to recharge a mobile account, pay a bill, buy a movie ticket or get more help.

If a consumer chooses to buy a movie ticket, he or she will be asked to reply with a region, movie language and date. The consumer will then receive a list of movies playing on that date, and he or she can pick the movie, cinema hall, show time, ticket type and number of tickets.

A summary screen will be presented for confirmation, and the consumer will have the option to view more details and confirm.

Indian commerce
With a population of 1.2 billion people, India offers great opportunity for mobile banking. Forty percent of its urban population is unbanked, and 60 percent of its rural population is unbanked.

According to the Reserve Bank of India, there are about 350 million payment cards in India, but 90 percent of the country’s transactions are still done in cash. The average use of apayment card in India is once a year.

Many Indian merchants do not accept credit cards, per Mr. Shawki, so Movida is aiming to help transform the country into a cashless economy.

“India makes the perfect case because of the geography, because of the economic distribution,” Mr. Shawki said. “You have a lot of mobile phones, a lot of credit cards, and people are still using cash.

“Visa is really applying its technology, its knowledge and network of financial institutions to create real solutions globally depending on the needs of each region,” he said.

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York