Technology advancements continue to keep everybody on their toes. For the vendors, it is a constant endeavour to provide better services and innovative breakthroughs. For consumers, it is one question that keeps the interest alive - what next? This phenomenon is far more conspicuous in the Telecom sector than in any other industry. From being a device used only for talking hands-free, mobile has become a box of applications and utilities that one cannot do without, at present.
Mobile payment was a development that everybody had expected to see for some time now because with GPRS technologies coming to the fore and internet banking already gaining momentum, it made sense to integrate consumers' banking and payment needs into mobile devices. Mobile wallet is an alternative paying method to cash, cheque or credit cards which could be used to pay for digital or hard goods as well as a plethora of services that may include ringtones, online game subscriptions, wallpapers etc. There are various methods adopted to make this idea work, for example - SMS based models for transaction, Direct Mobile Billing, Mobile Web Payments and Near Field Communication model.
Mobile payment services can provide a lot of benefits, for example - convenient and efficient transaction, privacy, low transaction fees, expansion of economic activities and so on. But such payment methods tend to make it easier for money launderers to strike. It also raises tax issues and confusions regarding the same. There can be problems related to security because of increased cyber crimes and reliability related to the money transfer. Since this method is susceptible to failures, one cannot be sure of the time that the money transfer can take. It may take a few hours for the merchant to receive payment while the consumers would not prefer waiting for more than a few minutes.
In India, mobile banking and cash at point-of-sales terminals have completed nearly two years. 34 out of 39 banks, which were granted approval by the Reserve Bank of India, had launched the services. According to the estimates, every month 6.8 lakh transactions amounting to approximately 61 crore, are settled through this developing channel of payment. It proves that this idea has still to find a foothold because, though mobile banking has grown with over ten million bank customers joining in the fray, it is not as significant a growth as compared to the growth in the number of mobile users.
The reluctance on the part of the users could be because of the requirement to remember MMID, MPIN apart from IPIN for internet banking and PIN number for ATM transactions, which makes the process more tiresome. Still want mobile banking? Go work those grey cells!
About the author: Nisha Meledath is a Contributing Editor for TradeBriefs. She can be reached at