Not sure how many noticed it, but yesterday's Hindu and Times of India newspapers announced a new service that enables transfer of funds to any bank account in India via mobile phone.
We are all aware of the successes of mobile remittances in countries like Kenya (recall M-Pesa: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11793290) and Philippines (recall G-Cash: http://www.mobile-financial.com/node/4502/Mobile-payment-provider-Boku-partners-with-Philippines-telco-Globe-for-mobile-payments).
However, these services require either an app to be downloaded and installed on a mobile phone or (b) some arrangement with operators to use the SIM card balance as a store of value. It is difficult if not impossible to install app where there is no internet connectivity/data plan and the phone is a low-end phone. Working with an operator has its own set of challenges.
What caught my attention in the news article in the Hindu was that it mentioned:
"In case of a lower-end phone where the application cannot be installed money can be transferred through SMS. "
This is an interesting angle to explore for us as well as for all the developers of SMS-based applications. This opens the field for creation of payment-related SMS apps. More importantly, it would allow developer of any SMS app to have a payment functionality to start monetizing independent of operator or any other third party ..similar to what PayPal enables for say iPhone app developers (http://mashable.com/2010/10/26/paypal-mobile-express-checkout/)
Interesting area for all of us to explore and contribute ideas to as this is such a nascent and rapidly evolving field where the rules of the game are yet to be written.
|Integrating payment systems via SMS using txtWeb platform would not be much difficult in my opinion. I'm not sure how many of you out there have worked with API's provided by Payment Gateways, but serving as a link between the payment gateway and the end user, this wont be a hurdle as such. Above all will be true provided there are some restrictions, main one being: 1) users use Credit Card to serve as a funding source, which in my opinion is a bottleneck because of less penetration of Credit Cards among the masses in India. (Something similar to PayPal - PayPal uses credit cards as a funding source for their users, in some cases Bank accounts as well) On my way back from Work today, i was just thinking of something similar what you just posted and i'm going to start working on such an app soon along with one my friends from IIT D. Currently we are working on an another App and we've almost deployed it. Once that App approaches popularity - which we are sure it will, we are probably going to work on a similar concept talked above.|
|Great to hear your thoughts on this Bhaskar. In fact, we are also actively thinking in this direction and plan to run a few small experiments to nail down what will work best. At this time, we are trying to make a shortlist of apps ideal for this experiment and looking for a partner who we can work with to execute this. If we do not end up finding a partner, we will probably execute it ourselves but that will take a longer time.|
|I am looking forward to txtweb establishing a revenue generation capability in the near future. My company's capability lies in the space of investment management software.We specialize in rule engines and can easily drive investment research results towards the txtweb platform. We are already working on one such idea with the hope that we can monetize it in the near future.|
Innovations that bring a positive durable change in the lives of billions particularly those in the Emerging Markets and at the bottom of the pyramid, excite me. View my Profile
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