ICICI bank has launched a new version of its mobile banking app — iMobile — which is packed with features designed to make the customers’ lives easier. When people are increasingly choosing to give up the joys of shopping to browse online and order without wasting time, mobile banking that saves people that dreaded trip to the bank can be a welcome relief for users.
“The response for iMobile has been phenomenal. We have been doubling up our user base every year since the launch,” announces Rajiv Sabharwal, executive director, ICICI Bank. The application is compatible with approximately 1,200 phone models; it lets you do almost everything that is possible on the net. The services offered can be divided into financial and non-financial. Financial services include fund transfer through NEFT (a nation-wide payment system facilitating one-to-one funds transfer) as well as IMPS (an instant, 24X7, interbank electronic fund transfer service through mobile phones), balance enquiry, viewing the last five transactions, opening of fixed deposit/recurring deposit and so on. The non-financial services include prepaid mobile recharge, buying movie and airline tickets, DTH recharge, locating an ICICI bank branch or ATM, among others.
The most popular services are fund transfer, prepaid mobile recharge, bill payments and movie ticket booking, says Sabharwal. The app was launched in January 2008, when mobile banking was an unheard of concept. The growth has been picking up since (table enclosed for comparison). “Under-standing the diverse needs of the customers and providing them a comprehensive range of services helps us deepen our relationship with the customer, increases engagement and makes us their preferred bank. While these services are free for the customers, a small transaction fee is levied to the merchants,” reveals Sabharwal.
|ICICI’S SHARE OF MOBILE BANKING
||Market share for FY 12
|Source: RBI Mobile Banking FY12
However, a major barrier to the adoption of mobile banking — or even net banking for that matter — would be the language, English being the only language this service is available in. Sabharwal assures that ICICI Bank app is easy to navigate and understand. As for infrastructure, the service is available at all networks across the country but GPRS is an essential requirement for iMobile operations. However, users who don’t have internet on their mobile can access it via SMS, USSD (a GSM communication technology that is used to send text between a mobile phone and an application programme in the network) and IVR (a technology that automates interactions with telephone callers) modes. “Customers are slowly but surely adopting this new channel and we are noticing a healthy growth in our month-on-month transactions carried out through mobile banking. The innovations in mobile banking have transformed the mobile phone into a personal banking assistant for our customers. Also, as per the data available, mobile users in the country have increased more than the internet penetration, which offers us a huge opportunity,” says Sabharwal, explaining that iMobile can be a hit even with non-urban users.
Although launched in 2008, the bank is giving the iMobile service a major push only now with an advertising campaign that is running across television, print, radio and digital (online and mobile) media. “We are also using our existing network of over 9,000 ATMs and close to 3,000 branches to reach out to our customers and make them familiar with iMobile,” signs off Sabharwal.