Champions of Financial Inclusion

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mobiles: Beyond Communication and Entertainment

The structural constraints on the existing banks in providing a low cost service to all classes of people have led to a number of innovative and new business models. Among those, mobile platforms are increasingly being thought of an option for providing easy and secure financial services to those who are un(der) banked. Mobiles act as a secure card less alternative which is not only easy to use, but also always present with the customers.   

Mobile banking opens up a plethora of opportunities which is limited to the imaginative use of such services.  Spread of mobile phones across all socio-economic classes and geographical areas ensures that penetration of mobile banking wouldn’t be limited to only some classes of the society like the conventional banking models. From the user’s point of view, the success of such a service would always depend on factors like ease of use, high levels of security of transaction, the affordability and the availability of the service at all time. All of these characteristics are dependent on the key stakeholders who are involved in making available such a service end users - Network operators, financial institutions, solution providers, mobile handset manufacturers and regulatory bodies.

Mobile banking when successful can be transformational in completely bridging the digital divide. But what really matters now is that the policy divide which been created protecting the existing banks and telecom service providers should be put to use of benefit of same institutions but with BOP customers included in the scope.

- Chitra Nayak

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