India telcos agree on mobile banking through SMSs
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
MUMBAI: Mobile companies have been persuaded by the Narendra Modi government to share a slice of their infrastructure to pave the way for basic banking services through cellphones.
Fund transfer, balance inquiry in savings account, change of PIN, mini statement, cheque book request, etc, will be possible with simple text messages from ordinary handsets and without accessing the internet.
In the past two months, ten telecom companies have signed pacts with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the payments gateway backed by the government, to facilitate the service. It will operate on Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) channel of the telcos — a simple interactive text messaging system that even allows credit and debit card transactions. However, the current plan is to restrict USSD to basic banking services, including low-value bill payments.