Fund transfer, balance inquiry in savings account, change of PIN, mini statement, cheque book request, etc, will soon be available through a simple SMS from ‘no-smart’ phones without accessing the internet.
The central government has convinced the private telecom operators in the country to pave the way for basic banking services through cell phones.
It is reported that ten telecom companies have signed the deal with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the payments gateway backed by the government, to facilitate the service.
It will operate on a simple interactive text messaging system namely Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) that even allows credit and debit card transactions. However, the current plan is to restrict USSD to basic banking services, including low-value bill payments.
AP Hota, MD & CEO of NPCI informed, “The primary reason for the delay in setting up this infrastructure was the apprehension of telecom operators that their business will be affected if they provide the USSD channel to the banking system. But TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) was justified in indicating that the communication channel should not be restricted…The service is available to anyone having a mobile phone or bank account”.
Prime Minister Modi would make a formal announcement to inaugurate the USSD-based service this week.