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When money goes mobile

September 29, 2010 10:36 IST

Mobile bankingFreedom from computers and Internet is what Ronald Dias wants on his Goa visits. But things turned sour on his one such visit, when he had to rush back to Mumbai for an emergency meeting.

"My house in Goa is very far from the city. I had to run from pillar-to-post to find an internet café and get my flight tickets booked," says Dias.

No wonder, on his next trip, he was all set with his GPRS-enabled handset and mobile application -- ngpay -- that allowed him to buy flight tickets and make other transactions through his phone.

The application

There are many consumers who are beginning to use such mobile applications -- ngpay and Atom -- that allow them to shop, pay bills and book tickets by just clicking on these.

Advantage: Even with an Internet-enabled laptop, you need to visit individual websites for each transaction.

Sourabh Jain, CEO, ngpay, explains, "When you enter a mall, you visit different stores, make purchases and then pay. Using these applications, you do the same. You create a personalised mall that you can frequent regularly."

Expense limit: As mandated by the Reserve Bank of India for mobile commerce, you can spend up to Rs 50,000 a day in the mobile mall.

The know-how

A request SMS will fetch you the URL that lets you download the application. There are no charges for the application, even if you get it from your mobile service operator's application store.

You will only pay your service provider for the GPRS charges for navigating. You need to create a unique personal identification number after you have registered yourself.

The PIN helps you authenticate yourself during transactions.

Next, you can create your 'personalised mall' from the various services providers and merchants available in categories like DTH providers, insurance and retail merchants.

Word of caution

The application may not include all merchants or services that you are looking for. While both ngpay and Atom say they are expanding their merchant base continuously, it is advisable to check if your preferred merchants are covered.

Once you opt for it, depending on your merchant, you may have to pay a convenience cost for transactions, similar to what you do in online transactions.

For instance, booking movie tickets will include a convenience charge of Rs 30 a ticket. For a railway ticket, the cost comes to 1.8 per cent of the fare.

However, internet allows you to use most debit cards. But credit cards are more acceptable form of payment on mobiles.

"At present, we have an understanding with certain banks for accepting their debit cards for payment.

"If a customer is using a debit card to make payments, he must check its acceptance before choosing application," says Dewang Neralla, director, Atom Technologies.

You can store details of multiple cards (in an encrypted form) in the application. This way, you need not type in your card or account details each time you make a transaction.

The PIN you created will then be used to conclude your transaction. However, it does not get saved. So, even if your mobile phone gets lost or stolen, nobody can misuse it.

Masoom Gupte in Mumbai
Source: source