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September 21, 2008

Will M-Banking live upto expectations?

The Mint has an article on the prospects for mobile banking firms.

Jostling with each other in this emerging space are Obopay Mobile Technology India Pvt. Ltd, Jigrahak Mobility Solutions Pvt. Ltd, Eko India Financial Services Pvt. Ltd and Mchek India Payment Systems Pvt. Ltd. The companies say though their basic concept is the same, the platform, dependence on phone firms, accessibility and revenue sharing pacts with partners will help them stand apart among themselves. Their investors, meanwhile, are moving cautiously on revenue models and await clarity on regulatory issues.

Industry estimates put customers for mobile banking services at between 50 million and 100 million over the next two years, by when India could be home to nearly half a billion mobile phone users, up from some 300 million today. Mobile phone users from rural areas—ideal customers for banking services on phone—account for about one in five of such customers and are expected to grow rapidly in the future.

...Jigrahak and its peers do not intend charging customers for most services, instead taking a fee from the service vendors—a bank, for instance—they partner with. The bank, in turn, pays out of the savings it potentially makes, which can be sizeable. A mobile transaction costs between Rs2 and Rs5 compared with Rs30-40 at a bank branch and Rs10-15 for an Internet transaction.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.