HDFC Bank, India's second largest private bank, has signed an agreement with Movida, a mobile payments joint venture backed by Visa and Monitise to introduce a first of its kind mobile payment service.
The new service allows HDFC Bank customers to pay bills, top-up prepaid airtime and buy tickets from their mobile phone and is designed to operate across all mobile networks using any Visa or non-Visa branded payment account.
It can be used by any mobile subscriber and can be accessed by even the most basic mobile phone.
Naushad Contractor, Movida's president and head of the Monitise and Visa joint venture in India, commented: "This is a service designed for Indians. As we rollout the service to other banks more Indians will be able to benefit from mobile payments. This service is going to drastically reduce the time and energy Indians waste everyday to pay their bills."
The new service uses menu-based USSD mobile technology making it one of the easiest services to use. After linking their HDFC Bank Visa or non-Visa payment card to their mobile phone number, cardholders can access the service via USSD over Movida's secure connection.
Further, the system encompasses various security measures to maintain account integrity, including a unique PIN number set up on the phone to access the account information. Only the user's bank-registered phone can be connected to the service.
Rahul Bhagat, head-retail liabilities, marketing and direct banking channels, HDFC Bank, said: "HDFC Bank has always been at the forefront of technology to ensure that our customers have greater choice and convenience at their disposal. The partnership with Movida is a crucial step whereby we will enable our customers to carry out multiple mobile commerce transactions from the most basic handsets."
As India continues the upgrade of its Internet and telecoms infrastructure to rural areas, the new mobile service finally allows millions of Indians to enjoy the benefits of mobile and online payment services to become part of the digital age via their basic prepaid mobile phone.
The service is initially being offered to a select number of valued customers before being rolled out across the country later in the year.