Vodafone Increases Banking Options in Rural India with Mobile Service
Monday, November 28, 2011
Vodafone India and HDFC Bank have announced plans to launch a mobile banking service across the country next year after a successful trial period, according to an Economic Times article.
The service, which is called ’M-Paisa’ (named after its monetary unit, the paisa), enables selected retailers to offer banking services to Vodafone customers, who are able to withdraw from or deposit to their HDFC account and transfer funds using their mobile device.
The initiative is currently up and running in Rajasthan, India’s largest state, where a pilot allows HDFC customers to enjoy basic banking services at the 2,200 retailers that support the initiative across the state’s 320 villages and 54 towns.
Following the successful trial, the service will be extended across the country through a phased roll-out during March and April 2012. The service supports only English currently, however the companies are planning to support a range of local languages that will significantly increase its potential.
M-Paisa is tipped to be particularly significant in regional areas that are under-serviced by banks, according to Rahul Bhagat, of HDFC Bank:
There are 6,00,000 habitations but only about 89,000 bank branches in the country, making access to banking services difficult in remote areas. We feel that Vodafone’s significant distribution reach will provide customers the security of financial transaction offered by bank.