Money transfer through mobile

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It really sounds nice, isn't it?


Imagine transfer money by sending sms. Technology is on the way. Only think u need is to 'top up' your phone with money and send it, the receiver will get a pin number through that he can access the money.
Banking regulations in India currently do not allow cash for exchange of another ‘unit’ such as ‘airtime’ in the case of mobiles. Only banks and the Indian Post (through money orders) are currently allowed such transfers.

However, the momentum in India is building up with the regulators having floated consultation papers in this regard, according to a source close to the development.

“You can expect some announcement from a major telecom operator in this regard in a couple of weeks to a month’s time,” said the source.

The GSMA, on its part, maintains that commercial global mobile money transfers should fructify in the second quarter of 2008.

“We are currently developing the commercial and technical framework, which operators will be able to use to link their networks into Western Union’s money transfer systems. We expect India, as one of the biggest recipients of remittances, to be among the first countries to benefit from mobile money transfer services,” a GSM Association (GSMA) spokesperson told Business Standard.
Anil Kapur, managing director, South Asia, Western Union Financial Services, said: “We have agreements with operators around the world, and are looking at mobile money transfers of principal amounts worth $100 and below. It will be a high volumes-low margin play. It will help the millions in remote towns and villages, who do not have or need a bank account.”

Estimated charges for international transfers on such a sytem are around 4 per cent, and in-country transfers could be as low as the cost of a text message.

Thirty-five GSMA operators with more than 800 million customers in more than 100 countries are party to the Mobile Money Transfer programme.

Led by Sunil Mittal, chairman and managing director of Bharti Airtel, the programme is overseen by a steering committee made up of representatives from Bharti, MTN, Orange, Orascom, Smart, Telenor and VimpelCom.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) is also a partner. Bharti Airtel has already tied up with State Bank of India for mobile remittance, and is pilot testing it at a few villages in India (one such project is in a small Himalayan town of Pithoragarh in India). Vodafone too has tied up with Citibank towards the same end.

“Bharti Airtel is part of the GSM Association’s (GSMA) Mobile Money Transfer programme along 34 other global mobile operators. GSMA has partnered with Mastercard Worldwide and the Western Union Company for this project. It is too premature right now to comment on any specific initiative,” said a Bharti Airtel spokesperson.

Other operators, too, are waiting for regulations to be in place before commercial operations begin.
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