Low-end phones can be used for service-code based mobile banking

Banking transactions on mobile phones are set to become easier in a few days time.

You will just need to key in the service code ‘*99#’ in your mobile to initiate funds transfer and check the balance in your bank account.

To begin with, about 20 banks will offer the service code based mobile banking facility to customers who are subscribers of Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. State Bank of India, Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank and Union Bank of India will be part of the initial roll-out.

All mobile banking transactions will be routed through the National Payments Corporation of India’s National Financial Switch for ATMs.

The service code based facility will work even on the most basic GSM mobile phone. It does not require users to download any software (application) for mobile banking.

A customer registering with his bank for mobile banking will be given a seven-digit mobile money identifier (MMID) and a mobile personal identification number (MPIN).

To initiate a mobile banking transaction, all that a customer will need to do is key in the ‘*99#’ service code.

Then a prompt will ask the customer to enter the MMID. Next, he has to choose from a menu of banking services — balance enquiry/funds transfer/merchant payment — to complete the transaction.

“Some banks may require customers to key in the second factor authentication (MPIN) only for financial transactions while others may require it for all transactions,” said a senior public sector bank official. The RBI has set a daily transaction cap of Rs 5,000 a customer including funds transfer and purchase of goods/services for mobile banking transactions facilitated by banks without end-to-end encryption.

According to A.P. Hota, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, NPCI, the service code based mobile banking will further the cause of financial inclusion.

The Corporation is working to get all banks to roll out this facility for their customers. Further, efforts are on to get all mobile service providers to activate the service code for their customers, said Hota.

Long-queues of migrant workers outside bank branches in metros and big cities to remit money may become a thing of the past if the ‘*99#’ based mobile banking service clicks.

ramkumar.k@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 29, 2012)
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