ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank and Vodafone India, one of India’s largest telecom service providers, announced a strategic alliance to launch a unique mobile money transfer and payment service called ‘m-pesa’. ‘m-pesa’ is the trademark of Vodafone. The announcement was made by Chanda Kochhar, MD & CEO, ICICI Bank and Marten Pieters, MD & CEO, Vodafone India Ltd.
ICICI Bank and Vodafone India through its 100% subsidiary, Mobile Commerce Solutions Ltd. (“MCSL”) have finalized plans to launch mobile payment services this year, under the brand name ‘m-pesa’. This offering will comprise: a mobile money account with ICICI Bank and a Mobile Wallet - issued by MCSL.
This innovative offering will give the customer a comprehensive service comprising:
- Cash deposit and withdrawal from designated outlets
- Money transfer to any mobile phone in India
- Range of mobile payment services including purchase of mobile recharge, recharge of DTH services and utility bill payments
- Money transfer to any bank account in India
- Payments at select shops
The partnership between ICICI Bank and Vodafone effectively leverages the strengths of Vodafone’s significant distribution reach and the security of financial transactions provided to customers by ICICI Bank. These services are made convenient using a vast network of authorized 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 remote areas.
The mobile payment service will be launched initially in the eastern region of the country viz. Kolkata, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand and then will be rolled out to other parts of the country in a phased manner.
Chanda Kochhar, Managing Director& CEO, ICICI Bank said, “ICICI Bank has been at the forefront of leveraging technology in banking and has revolutionized the way Indian customers carry out their banking transactions. We have now launched ‘m-pesaTM’, a unique and innovative offering which 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. We are very happy with this partnership with Vodafone which will bring together the strengths of our respective brands and our complementary capabilities.”
Marten Pieters, Managing Director & CEO, Vodafone India said, “Vodafone is the world’s largest and leading provider of mobile payment services. Vodafone ‘m-pesaTM’is offering millions of people basic financial services, beyond the reach of traditional banking. After an in-depth understanding of the Indian customer insights, we concluded that there is tremendous potential for this product in India. We are really proud to announce the strategic partnership with ICICI Bank and launch this first-of-its-kind offering with ICICI to provide mobile payments. This offering has been customized to serve the Indian customer in compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements”.