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Vodafone, ICICI launch mobile banking service for 700 mn ‘unbanked’ Indians

Last Updated: Friday, April 19, 2013 - 11:17

Washington: Vodafone India and ICICI Bank have launched a mobile-based money transfer and payment service, which will give mobile-banking access to some 700 million people who are currently "unbanked,” people with no access to conventional banking.

M-Pesa, which was first established in Kenya in 2007, was released on April 17.

Vodafone said the service will first rollout in India's eastern regions, including Kolkata and West Bengal, with 8,300 agents.

Service will eventually be extended across the rest of the country, CNN reports.

The M-Pesa system, where "M" stands for mobile and "pesa" is the Swahili word for money, begins with real cash and an M-Pesa agent.

A customer signs up, registers a personal mobile phone number and deposits money into the linked account at an agent store, which could be a mobile phone shop, a gas station or a supermarket, the report said.

To send money, the user inputs a recipient''s mobile phone number, the amount of money to send and a security code for protection, it added.

To withdraw funds, the receiver visits an M-Pesa agent and requests a withdrawal through his or her mobile phone.

Both the receiver and the M-Pesa agent then receive a confirmation for withdrawal, which instructs the agent to give the customer cash.

According to the report, bills can be paid and mobile talk time can also be bought through the platform.


First Published: Friday, April 19, 2013 - 11:17
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