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SBI plans mobile banking expansion

State Bank of India said it is focusing on mobile banking, particularly in rural areas, and will soon issue tenders for payment system gateway solutions.

State Bank of India said on Wednesday at the CII Banking Tech Summit held in Mumbai that it is focusing on mobile banking and will soon issue tenders for the payment system gateway solutions.
OP Bhatt, chairman, State Bank of India, said in a statement issued by CII, “We are emphasising on mobile banking along with some major technology projects like data warehousing this year. Tenders will be issued for the payment system gateway solutions to increase the use of technology (in SBI banks).”
In November last year, SBI had launched a service which allows customers to open no-frills savings accounts called SBI Mini savings bank accounts that can be operated with zero minimum balance through a mobile phone. The customer’s mobile phone number becomes the account number and he is given simple PINs to operate the account.
SR Rao, additional secretary, information technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, said in that mobile banking would improve and encourage banking in rural areas. “In India, the average population (using each bank) branch is 16,129 whereas in the USA and UK it is 2702 and 4,484, respectively. There is huge scope for mobile banking in rural areas (where physical banks are still absent).
In 2009, there were 136 million mobile subscribers in rural areas; the number is estimated to increase to 280 million by 2012 and 320 million by 2015. By next year, mobile subscriptions will cover India’s entire rural population,” he added.

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