Chennai, February 5, 2013: Aircel, one of India’s most innovative telecom players, and ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank, today, announced the joint launch of their Mobile Banking service – Mobile Money, running on Visa’s Mobile Managed Service.

Mobile Money aims at overcoming the challenges and meeting the financial needs of India’s unbanked, a majority of whom face many hurdles in managing their finances such as reliability of intermediaries, distance to formal banking infrastructure, legitimate KYC, and financial illiteracy.

Mobile Money launches with a range of financial services on a mobile phone such as cash deposits and cash withdrawals, money transfer to third parties, self-reload of prepaid mobile credit, and various utility bill payments.  On sign-up, customers will be able to use the Mobile Money service instantly on any mobile phone even without a data connection service.

The service will be first available in Tamil Nadu to specifically cater for the needs of the large migrant working population from Tirunelveli now living and working in Chennai. Rollout to other parts of the state and rest of the country will happen during 2013. 

Mobile operators are increasingly well suited to providing secure and simple financial services and by partnering with banks can play a major role in delivering on the Government’s Financial Inclusion objectives.

By harnessing Aircel’s vast retailer and distribution reach and its expertise In mobile network and customer-care centres, along with ICICI Bank’s strong pedigree in secure retail banking – ‘Mobile Money’ will deliver a safe, secure and instant suite of financial services for Aircel customers. Meanwhile Visa, the global payments technology company will deploy its Mobile Managed Service to host and manage the Mobile Money platform.

Speaking on the occasion, Geoff King, Head of Mobile Banking, Aircel said, “We are extremely pleased to be launching ‘Mobile Money’ to provide our customers with a safe, secure and instant way of managing their financial needs.  By partnering with ICICI bank and basing ‘Mobile Money’ on the Visa platform we have joined forces with two companies that have a strong pedigree in financial services, together with a great desire to deliver innovative financial service solutions to better meet the needs of the country’s unbanked. Aircel brings to the partnership not only our mobile network but just as importantly our attention and care in serving millions of customers every day with many millions of small cash transactions through our vast retailer and distributor setup.”

Speaking on the occasion, Rajiv Sabharwal, Executive Director, ICICI Bank said: “ICICI Bank has been leveraging technology to provide convenient and easily accessible banking services across the country in line with its financial inclusion initiative. The launch of Mobile Money is a part of this strategy, which will enable the Bank to provide reliable banking services to millions of customers through retail outlets of Aircel. These far-flung retail outlets will take the basic banking services practically to the doorsteps of the customers extending the reach of our formal banking channels. We are happy with this tie-up as this will help the Bank to reach the unbanked population.”

“Visa has just taken the hard work out of mobile payments.” said Uttam Nayak, Visa’s Group Country Manager for South Asia. “Our new Mobile Managed Service removes the time, complexities and cost of setting up mobile payment services – and is built on Visa’s trusted and reliable platform.

India’s financial institutions and telecom operators can now deliver new mobile payment services across the country in no time at all. Once again Visa is increasing the reach of electronic payments beyond tier 1 and tier 2 cities by driving affordable access and low cost acceptance. It’s part of our continued push to develop India’s payments ecosystem.”