Vodafone, HDFC Bank launch mobile banking in Rajasthan

November 26th, 2011 - 8:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Chomu (Rajasthanr), Nov 26 (IANS) Leading telecom service provider Vodafone India and private lender HDFC Bank Saturday launched “m-paisa”, a mobile banking service in Rajasthan to enable millions of unbanked Indians perform basic banking transactions on their mobile phone.

“It is a great oppotunity for a country like India to improve financial inclusion through mobile banking. It is a pioneering initiative modeled on the lines of Vodafone’s m-pesa product running in three different countries of Africa, offering to more than 17 million people basic financial services beyond the reach of traditional banking,” said Sunil Sood, director, business operations, Vodafone India.

“With our reach and ability to connect customers, we expect many million people to come into the banking fold through this service,” he added.

This initiative will allow Vodafone’s select retailers to act as HDFC’s sub-agents through which customers can deposit and withdraw cash through their mobile phone without having to go to bank branches.

In Rajasthan where this national partnership has been implemented, over 2,200 retailers across 320 villages and 54 towns are operational in opening HDFC Bank mobile bank accounts with Vodafone m-paisa.

“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,” said Rahul Bhagat, country head, retail liabilities, marketing and direct banking channels, HDFC Bank.

The companies will expand the service pan-India in a phased manner by March-April next year and also have plans to deliver it in all the major languages gradually. Currently it is available only in English.

In order to open an account, a customer will have fill in a KYC (know your customer) form and submit it to the retail outlet authorised by Vodafone and then start availing service on fulfilment of the bank’s formalities by dialing *135#.

Speaking about the security of the service, Reserve Bank of India deputy governor K.C. Chakrabarty, who launched the service, said: “We will be supervising HDFC Bank … we have issued mobile banking guidelines. We want to ensure that efficient use of mobile technology takes place in financial inclusion.”

(Priyanka Sahay can be reached at priyanka.sahay@ians.in)

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