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Banking on the move

You don’t need to go till your bank to check your account details. An alert on the mobile phone does this for you, writes Arnav Pandya.

india Updated: May 06, 2008 20:29 IST
Arnav Pandya

Mobile phone penetration has been growing strongly in India and banks have focused their attention on this area to provide better services. This has led to the emergence of mobile banking where the customer can get several additional features at the press of a button. Here is how mobile banking can be used effectively.

Basic services

Many basic services can be provided on the mobile phone. The most popular and common among them are alerts where the customer is informed if there is a transaction that crosses a certain sum. This helps the customer to track their financial position. Alerts giving the balance in the bank account at specific time intervals are also a common feature. This is more in the nature of intimating the customer on the mobile.

Additional services

Several banks are going beyond the basic services by looking at providing additional facilities for their customers. Two of the most common activities here are fund transfers and bill payment facility. The customer gets to transfer funds between accounts using a mobile phone and this saves them a lot of trouble in undertaking the same way using traditional banking methods. Similarly the bill payment facility will help the customer in ensuring that various utility bills are paid from the comfort of their homes.

Application

Different technologies are used to provide these services. However, individuals need to know whether they need to download an application to access certain services or not. In case of basic services in most cases one does not need to download any application, but when it comes to additional services it is necessary that the customer may have to add certain applications to their mobile. This is not very difficult as the application can be downloaded from the bank’s website or through some other specified route.

Cost

An important factor that the investor also has to consider is the cost factor involved in the process. If there is no charge for the services then there is not much to worry about because this provides an added element of convenience for the customer without any financial burden. Some banks levy a monthly charge and the number of banks doing this could very well increase in the coming days as they seek to create a sustainable model out of this. Thus there is a need for the investor to seek out the charges and then do a clear cost benefit analysis of the entire exercise.

(The author is a certified financial planner)