The third international conference on Mobile Payment India 2011 centered around the theme ‘Convergence is the need of the hour’.
The inaugural session began with industry leaders deliberating on the topic of ‘The Future of M-Payment in India and Services Providers’ Perspective’. Converging on a single platform, speakers from MTNL, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications joined spokespersons from Yes Bank, Axis Bank, IBM and KPMG to speak about the various initiatives between banks and telcos towards m-payments, and how this is slowly leading to a cashless society, driven by m-commerce.
“We are therefore looking at payments on a daily basis, periodic basis and special occasion basis, and we plan to cash in on the prepaid consumption, for which strata m-payments is missing. We are also aiming to provide universal user experience by all telecom operators, and for this investing in customer education, keeping it simple, universal acceptance of standards across merchants, cash-in- cash-out, and building system of trust are all necessary facets,” said Kunal Ramteke, head, M-Commerce, Business, Reliance Communications.
For urban customers, m-payments were a matter of convenience, while for rural
areas, it is a matter of accessibility and hence m-payments should first be
tested in rural areas, and then urban areas.
Talking about how India will have to formulate its own model for m-payments, which will no doubt be a converged model – as a measure to bring about accessibility and convenience, Kunal Pande, director, KPMG said that while the m-banking sector is now dominated by single players, telcos and banks need to work together to save on wasteful expenditure and also for the sake of a broader ecosystem. VAS should also be added to the m-payment platform.
New services are much needed to keep customers active, and middleware and technology vendors are needed to stop customer confusion. Elaborating on this point, Alpna Doshi, CIO, Reliance Group mentioned that a day is soon coming when people no longer have to carry wallets, and can conduct micro transactions and remittance from their mobiles itself.
Ending the panel discussion with a thoughtful statement that customized m-payment for Indian ecosystem is the need of the hour, and stating that banks and telcos have to converge to drive m-payments as clearly the mobile users in the country today outnumber the number of citizens with a bank account, Peeyush Agrawal, executive director, MTNL said that while there are approximately 6.8 lakh mobile transactions today, this number is estimated to touch 860 mn by 2015. With the RBI now allowing
transfers of up to Rs 50,000 daily, m-payments is only set to boom.
Continuing on that note and speaking about the role of UIDAI in online authentication with biometric reading, financial inclusion and inter-bank transfer, Sumnesh Joshi, assistant director general, UIDAI added that on the mobile platform, what is required are apps for transferring money, so that all retailers become business correspondents to banks, and literacy is not a requirement. He also reiterated that convergence is the need of the hour.
However, these challenges can be overcome if the banks, telcos and government work together, and m-payments could also be a golden opportunity for telcos to boost their falling ARPUs.
By Beryl M