Mobile banking seems to be gaining popularity among Indians with increasing number of people using this platform to buy tickets, pay bills, shop online, and transfer funds. The opportunity to expand reach, grow revenues and gain operating efficiencies have persuaded several banks to encourage their customers in using mobile banking.
Consider this: The number of mobile banking transactions doubled to 5.6 million in January 2013 from 2.8 million a year ago. The value of these transactions increased threefold to Rs 625 crore during the month from Rs 191 crore in January 2012.
ICICI Bank, which has the largest share in mobile banking payments, makes periodic offers to its customers to encourage them in using its mobile banking services. The bank has partnered several service providers to offer its customers discounts on their products and services. It has also tied up with different billers to allow its customers in making utility bill payments.
"We have seen a 100 per cent growth in the number of people using mobile banking in the past one year. Transactions are up by 300 per cent during the period," ICICI Bank's spokesperson said in an e-mailed response. The private lender is also using its network of 10,000 ATMs and close to 3,000 branches to reach out to customers and make them familiar with the bank's advanced mobile application iMobile.
Mobile banking has provided foreign banks with an option to grow customer base and expand their reach in India. Citibank is one of the first banks in the country to offer map-based location services. Its mobile applications are platform neutral and work across Android, Symbian and IOS platforms.
"Today, more than 16 per cent of our online customers actively use our mobile banking platform. We have over a million banking users across Asia-Pacific and the number is much higher globally. In India, we have seen an increase of over 200 per cent in transactions on our mobile banking platform in the last one year," said Sridhar Iyer, director of digital business (consumer banking) at Citibank India.
Banks are also asking their employees to transact more through mobile banking channels. "No technological product can be sold unless and until the front office personnel are convinced of its utility. Hence, as a first step, we decided to inculcate the habit of using mobile banking by our own staff," said D Sampath, head of retail banking at Federal Bank.
The bank has also partnered a number of merchants in and around its offices to accept payments through mobile banking.
The popularity of mobile banking has also convinced state-run lenders and co-operative banks to introduce their mobile applications. The State Bank of India currently has the largest share in mobile banking transaction volume.
Greater Bombay Co-operative Bank claims it has more than 11,000 customers who have registered for mobile banking. "Getting customers on mobile banking platform was a major challenge for us. But we were sure that once a person starts using mobile banking, they will realise how easy and convenient it is to use. We decided to work from the root level," said Narendra D Behere, CEO of Greater Bombay Co-operative Bank.