State Bank of India, the country’s largest lender, is about to launch mobile wallet ‘Batua’ next month, reports TOI. With this launch, SBI will become the first bank to offer wallet services for smartphone users.
This is among SBI’s efforts to become the banker for Digital India. Post launch, the ‘Batua’ service will be available to both existing and non-SBI customers on Java-enabled mobile phones. Customers can log on to sbi.co.in to download ‘Batua’ on their desktop and install the app on their phones.
Earlier in August this year, SBI had launched ‘State Bank Buddy’. The app allows its users to access seller’s apps directly without downloading the latter separately. Customers can also send money to new and registered customers, book movie tickets, flight tickets, hotels and do mobile shopping from the app.
However, customers using ‘Batua’ will only be able to load, pay and receive money.
The bank is in the process of developing another version of ‘Batua’ for non-smartphone users, who don’t have internet access through their phone and thereby cannot download any app.
The pilot project will entail SBI’s plans to use instant messaging service to enable its customers to send and receive money. The project is set to be launched sometime in the next year.
According to TOI, the bank has an annual budget of INR 3000 Cr and a 20% market share. The bank boasts of a customer base of 28.6 Cr of which 2.3 Cr are net banking customers and 1.2 Cr are mobile banking customers.
Customer preference in India is slowly but steadily moving towards internet banking, and several banks have already started taking initiatives towards this direction.
SBI’s initiatives place it with direct competition from ICICI bank’s Pocket, HDFC bank’s PayZapp and mcommerce companies like Paytm and Mobikwik. Citibank India and MasterCard had launched CitiMasterPress, while HDFC bank partnered with mobile payments company Chillr. Kotak Mahindra Bank had also launched a savings account product called Jifi Saver & KayPay, which allows Facebook users to send money to each other through the bank’s agnostic payment product.
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