In India, from next month onwards, anyone with even a basic mobile phone will be able to perform key banking transactions from it by entering the service code ‘*99#.’ The transactions that will be enabled at the present time are funds transfer, merchant payments and checking a bank account balance.
The service will initially be available to mobile customers of Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. The first banks to participate in the scheme are State Bank of India, Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank and Union Bank of India.
For a customer to use this mechanism, he must apply to his bank for a seven-digit mobile money identifier (MMID) code and a mobile personal identification number (MPIN).
That done, to perform a transaction the customer first has to key in the ‘*99#’ service code and press his ‘Call’ button. He will then receive a prompt asking him for his MMID. Following that, he will be presented with a text menu of the earlier-mentioned Banking services.
The necessity to enter the MPIN for a particular type of transaction will vary from bank to bank.
At present the Reserve Bank of India has set a daily transaction limit of Rs. 5,000 per customer, inclusive of funds transfer and purchase of goods/services.
The upshot is that after obtaining the MMID and MPIN from the bank, the customer does not need a Web-enabled mobile phone and can transact using text messaging.
This in turn means that the millions of Indians who have only basic mobile phones can now perform banking transactions from them, thereby not excluding them from the convenience and benefits of mobile banking.
The lives of those millions of Indians are definitely going to become easier and more efficient!
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