Thursday, November 12, 2015

SBI to launch mobile wallet ''Batua'' for feature phone users next month:-

MUMBAI: Country's largest lender State Bank Of India is all set to become the first bank to offer wallet services for feature phone users. SBI is set to launch mobile wallet "Batua" next month and the service will be available to existing as well as non-SBI customers. The application will be available on Java-enabled mobile phones.

"We want to cater to both India and Bharat and this new initiative is part of our efforts to cater to Bharat," a State Bank of India official, who did not wish to be named, said.

"Post-launch customers can log into sbi.co.in download "Batua" on their desktop and load the app on their phone," he added.

The bank has been ramping up its efforts to become the banker to Digital India. It has an annual IT budget of Rs 3,000 crore, a 20% market share, a customer base of 28.6 crore, of which 2.3 crore are net banking customers and 1.2 crore are mobile banking customers.

The bank also launched its mobile wallet SBI Buddy for smart phone users in August this year. SBI Buddy customers can send money to new and registered customers, book movies, flights, hotels as well as use the mobile wallet for shopping. Customers using Batua will only be able to load, pay and receive money.

"We have a market place in Buddy. Unless the market place enables the Batua application to access these sites customers will be unable to enjoy the shopping experience on this app," the banker said.

The bank is also planning to launch another version of Batua for very basic phones which does not offer internet access and does not entail downloading any app.

While, this project is in the pilot stage, SBI plans to use the instant messaging service to allow customers to pay and receive money. The bank plans to launch this next year.

The bank has been increasingly trying to capitalise on its large customer base in the semi-urban and rural areas. It has a total of 8.5 crore financial inclusion accounts with a transaction volume of over Rs 29,000 crore at the end of September 2015. SBI has deposits of nearly Rs 5,931 crore in these financial inclusion accounts.

Several of India's private banks have launched mobile payment solutions for smart phone users. In June, HDFC Bank launched PayZapp, a oneclick payment and purchase solution. It has also launched Chillr, a thirdparty app platform that enables users to transfer money to anybody in their phone book contacts.

ICICI Bank has launched 'Pockets', a wallet model aimed to take on industry rivals Paytm and MobiKwik. Axis Bank also recently rolled out a fullfledged mobile app 'Lime' that enables shopping, making payments and banking under one window.