ICICI Bank today said it has formed an alliance with Vodafone India to offer mobile money transfer and payment service.
The service, 'm-pesa', involves a mobile money account with ICICI Bank and a mobile wallet issued by Mobile Commerce Solutions, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Vodafone India. Customers can deposit and withdraw cash from designated outlets, transfer money to any mobile phone or bank account in India, purchase mobile recharge and pay utility bills.
"These services are made convenient using a vast network of authorised agents who will enable the customer to deposit and withdraw cash in and from their account. By facilitating banking transactions at such agent locations, this alliance effectively delivers the last mile access in rural areas," the bank said in a statement.
The partnership aims to leverage the strengths of Vodafone's distribution reach and security of financial transactions provided by ICICI Bank.
"This offering has been customised to serve the Indian customer in compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements," Marten Pieters, managing director and chief executive of Vodafone India, said.
The mobile payment service will be launched initially in the eastern region of the country including West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand. It will then be rolled out to other parts of the country in a phased manner.
"m-pesa will allow us to provide basic banking services to millions of customers spread across the country. This will help us reach out to segments that currently do not have access to banking services, towards our objective of achieving greater financial inclusion," Chanda Kochhar, managing director and chief executive of ICICI Bank, said.