Grameen Bank, which pioneered micro-finance and rural banking in Bangladesh, along with US-based Obopay, are planning to introduce banking and transaction services through mobile phones in India, soon after the Reserve Bank of India’s recent draft guidelines on mobile payments in India become operational regulation. Obopay will be operating through its subsidiary functioning from Bangalore with Grameen family’s Grameen Solutions.
“There are going to be half a billion phones in another 18 months in India. Every adult has a mobile phone. This gives the right platform to reach the poorest sections,” explained Carol Realini, CEO of Obopay.
Obopay aims to reduce the transaction costs and make banking services, especially the money transfer to poorer sections of the society more affordable.
“Currently money transfer charges amount to 15 to 18 per cent in US and across countries too. In US for instance we do money transfer of less than $100 (Rs 4,300) for less than 25 cents (Rs 11 approximately),” said Realini.
Obopay hopes to identify potential partners including banks and global technology companies and telecom operators by the end of August and start delivering services by October. The pilot project is to be launched in Mumbai first to test the service reach to the unbanked sections of the urban poor. “We have already got response from banks to be partners, but we are not willing to take the names as the RBI regulations are still not out,” said Aditya Menon, executive director of Obopay.