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HindustanTimes Thu,02 Oct 2014

HDFC Bank sets stage for 'missed call' banking

M Rajendran, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 06, 2014
First Published: 23:51 IST(6/2/2014) | Last Updated: 08:20 IST(7/2/2014)

Did you think missed calls were only meant for that friend to call you back? Think again. HDFC Bank is all set to roll out “missed call” banking after a pilot project that is on now.

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If you are an HDFC Bank customer, you can use this facility to check your balance enquiry, ask for a mini statement, place a chequebook request and seek an account statement by linking your missed call with assigned numbers. The missed call works like a pager.

The nation’s second largest-private sector lender is using this system — described as a humble innovation from India — to serve its 28.7 million savings and current account holders. In fact, even those using basic phones can make use of this service, considering that there are only about 160 million smartphone subscribers, out of close to 900 million mobile users in India.

The aim of this service is to bridge the digital divide between basic cellphone and application-rich smartphone user — and it functions as a e-banking service for those without Net connections.

“The service was launched a few months ago and attracted about 1.7 million transactions a month with customers using it in rural and semi-urban areas,” said Nitin Chugh, head, digital banking, HDFC Bank.

Indians invented the missed call under financial pressure. From 1995 to 2003, the missed call was used by consumers to “communicate” with a mobile phone user, who would not take a call, because incoming calls were not free and cost as much Rs. 16.80 per minute. It came down to Rs. 4 per minute in 2003. And invariably, the missed calls were returned from fixed lines. However, after 2005, when mobile tariffs crashed to 30 paise per minute, missed calls were pervasive.

“It will still thrive, even if mobile calls become free,” said NK Goyal, a telecom industry consultant.

Call the bank at no cost
HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS
* The bank has appointed an aggregator to receive missed calls on six separate toll-free numbers
* Operators diverts the missed calls to HDFC Bank’s central server
* The server analyses the demand made by the account holder of the missed call
* It then processes the information

WHAT YOU CAN APPLY FOR
* Balance enquiry, mini statement, new chequebook, account statements


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