Mobile payment for rural areas

Mobile payment for rural areas | Blogging In Web 2.0 Beta
A few banks have introduced apps which can pay without the need for plastic or cash. However, apps are not useful to the majority of Indian people who have feature phones, not smartphones.
Nokia, who provide the majority of phones to India, attempts to make mobile payment accessible to more people. They have just launched a mobile payment service called Nokia Money, for feature phones.

In rural India, many people do not have a smartphone, computer, a bank account, or credit and debit cards. Nokia Money allows these people to pay bills, buy tickets, or top up their mobile phone. An advanced version also facilitates sending money to other users, paying retailers, and using the service as an ATM. All that is necessary is a Nokia phone, and to visit an authorised Nokia retailer, who can embed the service on the phone. Then they can pay cash to the agent, and get digital cash transferred to their phone via an instant SMS message.

Nokia are also trialling Nokia Money on NFC (Near Field Communication) devices. In this instance, the Nokia Money merchant must purchase a NFC-enabled smartphone, such as a the Nokia 701 or the Blackberry 9790, to act as the active device. The customer does not need an NFC enabled handset, but can purchase an NFC tag, and their phone will act as the passive device in the money transfer.

The service had a successful beta launch in areas such as Pune, Nashik and Chandigarh. Its continued success will depend on awareness and acceptance by rural communities. It also relies on good mobile networks, which do not proliferate throughout rural India (call drops, lack of network and unsent SMSes are common). However, the basic idea of bringing simple mobile payment to large areas currently cut off from such benefits has many benefits, and early trials such as Nokia Money are surely stepping stones towards thorough and efficient implementation.

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