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Mobiles more often seen than shoes in some places

MUMBAI, India – Today Nokia launches Nokia Money across India. The service gives people a secure wallet for their money that can be used to make payments without the necessity of having a bank account.

Across rural India, there’s a great need for such a service. Only 10 per cent of India’s 600,000+ villages currently have access to a bank, leading to considerable insecurity and inconvenience. In urban areas, on the other hand, there’s much better bank access, but most transactions are still made in cash. A secure electronic alternative would save people time and offer more safety.

There are considerably more Nokia dealers than there are bankers in the country. Enabling them to also act as Nokia money agents, able to top up funds on your phone, will mean that considerably more people can have access to simple financial services that were previously unobtainable.

All people need to do is to go to their local authorised Nokia retailer, who can set up the service on their phone, then the customer pays cash to the agent and has the digital cash transferred to their phone in an instant SMS message. Their mobile can then be used to securely settle utility bills, phone top-ups, insurance premiums and tickets among other payments.

“There is a need for alternate financial payment instruments in India and mobile offers the perfect mass platform to deliver these. Transaction costs through banking correspondents is almost a tenth cheaper and for customers using mobile for money transactions the cost are even lower,” said Gary Singh, general manager, Nokia Mobile Payment Services.

The new Nokia Money service is independent of any particular mobile network, so extending its reach to many previously ‘underbanked’customers. It is complimentary to the existing Nokia Money services we’ve reported on before that were set up with the Union Bank Money and Yes Bank Money. Customers who start with Nokia Money can also upgrade to these services, allowing person-to-person money transfers and cash-withdrawals, financial services which have more stringent regulations than the e-wallet provided by Nokia Money.

image credit: Dipanker Dutta