Monitise sets up Indian unit; lines up investors

Monitise sets up Indian unit; lines up investors

UK m-payments outfit Monitise has moved to tap the vast Indian market by establishing a unit in the country to develop a multi-bank, multi-operator mobile money platform.

The vendor says it will work with a consortium of, as yet unnamed, investors from across the financial services and mobile technology market on the Monitise India project.

ICICI Bank, which already runs its own iMobile banking service, has indicated its intent to invest and participate in the project.

Monitise says the service will let customers of participating financial institutions manage their money and make payments on the move using their choice of mobile network and handset.

Customers will be able to make payments to merchants or other people, transfer funds between accounts, pay bills, check balances and top up pre-pay mobile phone accounts.

Monitise says its service will work on an 'ecosystem' principle, using existing banking standards, such as ISO 8583 & IFX, to connect regulated bank and card accounts with multiple mobile networks.

This will enable it to comply with guidelines set out by the Reserve Bank of India last year. The RBI has ruled that mobile services can only be offered to bank account and credit and debit card holders. It has also insisted that mobile banking services are available to users of all phone networks.

The central bank says its long term goal is the creation of a framework to enable fund transfers to and from accounts at any bank in real time, irrespective of mobile network.

Alastair Lukies, chief executive, Monitise, says: "We are delighted to announce the launch of Monitise India which will build a sustainable mobile money network across the country. Monitise India will combine our unique experience of working with multiple banks, mobile networks, regulators, payment providers and card schemes with the expertise of some of India's most recognised companies."

The Indian move is the firm's latest attempt to expand its business into emerging markets. In February it struck a deal with E-Fulusi Africa, the Tanzanian mobile wallet provider to develop m-banking services for the millions of people across East Africa that are currently unbanked.

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