ICICI Bank has launched mobile commerce (m-commerce) services for its customers. In Mumbai they have tied up with Orange and in Delhi with Airtel, the respective cellular service providers.
ICICI Bank, a subsidiary of ICICI reported a turnover of Rs 6.3 bn as at March'99. Ina span of five years of operations its branch network has expanded to 55. Its capital adequacy ratio was 11.06% as at March'99.
This m-commerce facility will allow subscribers of the respective cell phone companies who are also account holders and credit card holders of ICICI Bank to get information on their accounts via their cell phones.
The service for this product is going to be built in two phases. The first phase would be the query module, in which customers can handle banking queries such as balance update, request for a cheque book, details of transactions and request for statements. In the second phase they will add a transaction phase whereby a customer will be to instruct fund transfers and make bill payments.
ICICI Bank also plans to launch demat account related services to its customers soon.
ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank, the technology savvy banks have been launching a host of services to make banking convenient to its customers. This move by ICICI Bank will help it garner up more customers. There will be many Orange subscribers who currently do not have an account with ICICI Bank or who are not credit card holders and will get tempted to start banking with ICICI Bank due to these new services.
HDFC Bank too has been very aggressive on the internet banking front and was the first to launch phone bill payments via the net. This enables HDFC account holders to pay their phone bills at their convenience to their respective mobile phone/telephone companies.
Recently ICICI Bank has launched a 50:50 joint venture with Satyam Infoway to offer retail banking products over the internet.
As competition in the retail segment is on the rise those banks with the technology edge will be able to garner up more customers. They will be able to provide a more convenient and better range of products and services and this will eventually lead to banking from the convenience of your home.
The mobile phone segment is also on a growth phase as the cost of mobile phones has come down & tariffs are also lower. This would give a boost to these facilities offered by banks. If the tariffs for calls received on mobile phones is done away with, there would be a big jump to the quantum of mobile phone subscribers.
These two banks will be able to increase their market share substantially in the coming years. The public sector banks however will not be able to provide these services to customers for a long time as they are not fully computerised and lack on this front. Also the PSU Banks are saddled with other problems like high staff costs and huge branch networks.