Telecom major Vodafone and India’s largest private sector bank ICICI today launched their mobile-wallet (m-wallet) service ‘m-pesa’ in Uttar Pradesh (East) circle.
‘M-pesa’ service allows registered cell phone users remit money to any other mobile phone/bank account, pay utility bills, recharge mobile, shop and participate in e-commerce.
Vodafone had already the service in Kolkata, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Delhi/NCR and Mumbai.
The remaining telecom circles would be covered in phases over the span of next 12-18 months. The service was first introduced in the Indian market by Vodafone during November-December 2012.
‘M-pesa’ service would now be available in 155 tehsils, 35 districts through 5,500 trained authorised agents in UP (E).
M-wallets are akin to prepaid cards and need to be loaded with money prior to use. The funds in m-wallet could be securely accessed through mobile phone by the user. These wallets could be topped-up via cash at designated outlets.
Vodafone operations director Rajiv Kohli said ‘m-pesa’ was aimed at providing services to the unbanked and under-banked sections of society. “More than 50% of our subscribers are based in the rural areas and this service provides a platform to the people for instant and secure money transactions.”
He said ‘m-pesa’ would leverage the combined strengths of Vodafone’s expertise in the domain of mobile payments coupled with the security of transactions provided by ICICI Bank.
Meanwhile, Vodafone flagged a road-show in the circle comprising 24 vans, which would traverse through the region over the next 30 days to create awareness about the service.
To avail of the service, a Vodafone customer visits an ‘m-pesa’ outlet, submits form, provides identity and address proofs and deposits registration fee of Rs 200.