Movida, a mobile payments joint venture backed by Visa and Monitise, has signed an agreement with HDFC Bank, India’s second largest private bank, to introduce a first of its kind mobile payment service. The new service allows HDFC Bank customers to pay bills, top up prepaid airtime and buy tickets from their mobile phone and is designed to operate across all mobile networks using any Visa or non-Visa branded payment account. It can be used by any mobile subscriber, anywhere and accessed by even the most basic mobile phone.
Naushad Contractor, Movida’s President and head of the Monitise and Visa joint venture in India, commented: “This is a service designed for Indians. As we rollout the service to other banks more Indians will be able to benefit from mobile payments. Wave goodbye to waiting in long queues or visiting post offices or payment machines to pay bills as you will now be able to do that right from your mobile phone. This service is going to drastically reduce the time and energy Indians waste every day waiting to pay bills.”
The new service uses menu-based USSD mobile technology making it one of the easiest services to use and the most widely available. After linking their HDFC Bank Visa or non-Visa payment card to their mobile phone number, cardholders can access the service via USSD over Movida’s secure connection. From then on it is just a matter of selecting the payment service required and making the payment. The simple menu can complete a transaction in only a few steps.
And not only is the service simple, it’s secure and backed by two of the world’s most trusted brands in electronic and mobile payments. The system encompasses various security measures to maintain account integrity, including a unique PIN number set up on the phone to access the account information. Only the user’s bank-registered phone can be connected to the service.
Contractor added: “This technology will be a game changer the way the iPhone was for mobile phones. This is a smart service for smart people and epitomizes everything Visa and Monitise stand for: it is fast, reliable, secure, and simple – and it will change the way consumers in India pay, forever.”
Rahul Bhagat, Head-Retail Liabilities, Marketing & Direct Banking Channels, HDFC Bank, said: “HDFC Bank has always been at the forefront of technology to ensure that our customers have greater choice and convenience at their disposal. The partnership with Movida is a crucial step whereby we will enable our customers to carry out multiple mobile commerce transactions from the most basic handsets.”
This service reaffirms HDFC Bank’s commitment to bring the latest service and convenience to our customers. All our customers throughout the country can now pay their bills and top up talk time with a few clicks of their mobile phones. This will save them considerable time and help them focus on more important things in life.”
As India continues the upgrade of its Internet and telecoms infrastructure to rural areas, the new mobile service finally allows millions of Indians currently excluded from enjoying the benefits of mobile and online payment services to become part of the digital age via their basic prepaid mobile phone.
The service is initially being offered to a select number of valued customers before being rolled out across the country later in the year.
USSD: Unstructured Supplementary Service Data
USSD is a protocol used by GSM cellular telephones to communicate with the service provider’s computers. USSD can be used for prepaid callback service, mobile-money services, location-based content services, menu-based information services. USSD messages are up to 182 alphanumeric characters in length. Unlike Short Message Service (SMS) messages, USSD messages create a real-time connection that remains open and allows for a two way exchange of a sequence of data. This makes USSD more responsive than services that use SMS.