ICICI Bank –whose mobile app was launched way back in 2008 before m-banking became a market favourite – has rolled out a new feature, iMobile SmartKeys. The primary purpose of SmartKeys is to enable users to conduct transactions without leaving their existing messaging apps or browser.
It also uses a one-step secure verification process to do the same, with an aim to reduce transaction time while maintaining user data safety. The platform is available on both iOS and Android.
SmartKeys was developed as part of ICICI Bank’s Appathon initiative – a virtual mobile app development challenge. According to B Madhivanan, ICICI’s Chief Technology & Digital Officer, “We (the bank) have always leveraged technology to pioneer digital innovations and provide world-class banking experience to its customers. Many of our innovations were path breaking initiatives even globally for instance banking on Facebook & Twitter & Voice based recognition to name a few.” It was rolled out within 90 days of winning the Appathon, a quick turnaround being key to beta test a new feature.
According to an official statement the total number of features now available on the iMobile ICICI banking app is 165.
SmartKeys – Pay Through Your Keyboard
SmartKeys allows users to transact while using messaging apps such as WarchatsApp, FB Messenger and others, browsing the Internet on browser, or even just using the Phone Seh. Anything, as long as the keyboard is still active on the screen.
Once an ICICI mobile app user has updated the app and integrated the new keyboard on their smartphone, all they need to do is:
- Long press the globe icon on their keyboard (for iPhone), or shake it thrice (for Android phones) to switch keyboards.
- Once SmartKeys comes up, users need to verify login with the 4-digit MPIN or Touch ID on the m-banking app.
- Users can mark favourite transactions (payments that are made frequently such as bill paying, recharge) or send money to registered beneficiaries across different banks.
- Once a transaction is complete, the Notify Button on the keyboard will send a notification to the other party. For ex. if a user is using WhatsApp, while transacting the other party will be notified via Whatsapp. Similar for FB Messenger or regular text otherwise. The Notify button also logs out of the transaction.
This reduces the total transaction time to seconds for activities such as paying utility bills, recharge mobiles, DTH and the Internet as well as transferring money between accounts. The secure verification process ensures that user data will be used for transacting purposes only. It also ensures that all of the above is done within the confines of existing messaging app or browser.
When asked for traction regarding feature usage, a spokesperson said, “It is too soon to comment on the number of users for the feature, but it is available for everyone who is currently using the iMobile app of the bank.”
Banks Get On Board The FinTech Bandwagon
As the total transaction value in m-banking in India has touched about $7.3 Bn (INR 49,029 Cr) in 2015, it’s not just startups who are betting big on FinTech.
ICICI Bank is just one among the many banking institutions in the country who have jumped on the digital payments bandwagon. It does hold the distinction of being the first bank in India to launch its mobile app in 2008.
Axis Bank has gone ahead and launched an Innovation Lab to incubate groundbreaking technology and absorb FinTech Startups.
IndusInd Bank launched ‘On The Go’ to allow its users to make payments through social media. ICICI itself has released many new facilities in its quest to gain traction in m-banking, with allowing users to use Twitter to transfer funds being one of the more popular ones.