India’s Aircel offers mobile money

Indian operator Aircel has launched a mobile financial services offering using payment provider Visa’s hosted platform solution. The platform aims to make it easier and more cost-efficient for mobile operators and financial institutions to offer mobile financial services to consumers.

Aircel’s offering is the result of an equal partnership with local bank ICICI and the operator said it chose Visa’s platform because of the payment provider’s reach and experience.

“Their experience of over 10 years in mobile banking combined with their processing capabilities makes them an ideal choice for gateway partner for this enterprise,” said Geoff King, head of mobile banking at Aircel.

He said that the other advantage of partnering with Visa is its acceptance at over 600,000 merchants in India. Aircel and ICICI Bank will “share all risks and rewards” of using the platform, King added.

“With the combined strength of 2,300 branches of ICICI Bank and 530,000 in Aircel’s retail network, we are well positioned to provide ease and convenience of mobile banking to our customers whilst supporting the financial inclusion of those lacking access to mainstream banking facilities,” said King.

The firms will offer cash deposits and cash withdrawals, money transfer to third parties, prepaid mobile top-up and various utility bill payments.

Visa’s platform is a bank-grade managed service offering, the firm said, including user interface design, consumer enrolment, transactions processing, authorisation, clearing and settlement.It is built on technology from Fundamo, the mobile money provider acquired by Visa in 2011.

In Rwanda, domestic banks Urwego Opportunity Bank and Bank of Kigali have also begun using the platform, offering customers access to a financial account that is linked to their mobile phone number.

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