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Norms drawn up for mobile banking

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued draft guidelines to banks for standardising mobile banking operations in the country.
By BS Srinivasalu Reddy | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUN 12, 2008 09:20 PM IST

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday issued draft guidelines to banks for standardising mobile banking operations in the country. These guidelines, once they come into force, will enable all banks of offer mobile banking services.

“The long-term goal of mobile payment framework in India would be to enable funds transfer from an account in one bank to any other account in the same or any other bank in real time irrespective of the mobile network a customer has subscribed to,” said the RBI in the draft guidelines, prepared in consultation with banks.

Mobile banking is offered by several banks individually at various levels. But they are yet to reach a stage where a person is able to transfer funds to various people banking with several banks at the click of a mobile phone. This is because different banks operate through different mobile operators and offer services at different levels of sophistication. The RBI’s initiative is intended to standardise the processes.

“The RBI initiative will broaden the scope of mobile banking services. The move will standardise the formats adopted by various banks and enable all the banks to offer these services,” said Aspi Engineer, Vice-President: (Alternate Channels), Axis Bank.

“The offerings today are confined to individual banks. Standardisation helps in inter-operability (transactions between banks),” Engineer added.

Most of the major banks today offer the first level of mobile banking services in the nature of information like balance enquiry, SMS alerts for credits and debits and status of transactions. Only a few private and foreign banks offer services involving financial transactions such as payments, transfers and stop payments.

Providing a framework for enabling mobile payment services will require the collaboration of banks, mobile payments service providers and mobile network operators. The service can also be provided as a proximity payment system, where
the transactions are independent of the networks, the RBI said.

“When a bank offers mobile payment services, it may be ensured that customers having mobile phones of any network operator should be in a position to request for services,” the RBI said.

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