Monday, June 7, 2010

SBI in collaboration with Eko enable saving account accessible through mobile phones

The state government of Bihar has launched ‘Mobile Money Transfer System’ in Patna. The service has been launched in collaboration with United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and Norway-India Partnership Initiative (NIPI), an aid agency funded by Norway government. And, this service will be implemented by Eko Indian Financial Services Limited, a New-Delhi based company, in partnership with the State Bank of India (SBI). Through this service the Social Health Activists (ASHA) workers will receive their salary in a mobile bank account which would be linked to their cellphones.

In the beginning the projects has been as a pilot project in Sheikhpura district and by the year end it will be extended across the state.

Executive director, State Health Society, Sanjay Kumar while launching the project said, "Under the said scheme, ASHA workers would receive their pay in their SBI `no frills' Savings account which would be accessible from their mobile phones."

Kumar added that Eko will help Customer Service Points (CSP) to open an SBI mini savings bank accounts on their mobile phones for all financial transactions with zero capital expenditure. He informed that as the mobile number of a person is globally unique, therefore number will be used as an alias of the customer’s SBI bank account number and added that all transactions can be done by dialing the said number. He said all the transactions will get completed in real time the customers will be sent instant confirmations through SMS. Also, he said, when the health care workers have registered their mobile enabled bank accounts with local retailers, they will be able to deposit or withdraw funds by using a unique pin number.

Kumar said, this is the first time such type of system has been introduced in the country, the program aims is to empower women by promoting their financial inclusion with simple and secure access. He further added, that to provide payment to ASHA workers on time is a tough job therefore this project will enable to make payment to them on time.

On the other hand state co-coordinator, UNOPS-NIPI, Bihar, S P Sinha said with the implementation of this initiative gives an opportunity to effectively make use of available resources to accelerate the process of economic and social development.

CGM, rural business, SBI, J K Sinha said, "As SBI has always been at the forefront of providing banking outreach to rural areas, the project is an innovative use of technology in women empowerment."

Eko CEO Abhishek Sinha said, Eko main objective is to build a low cost financial services infrastructure with the mobile phone as its primary transaction interface, thus, this will help in reaching the financially excluded population where up till now no bank has been able to reach.

He told up till now Eko has over 470 outlets across Delhi, Bihar and Jharkhand with 70,000 customers making transaction of Rs 15 lakh per day.

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