RBI sets up panel on SMS banking via any mobile phone

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has set up a technical committee to examine the feasibility SMS-based mobile banking, including encrypted fund transfers, using an application that can run on all types of handsets.

A Technical Committee on Mobile Banking has been set up to "examine the options/ alternatives, including the feasibility of using encrypted SMS-based funds transfer using an application that can run on any type of handset for expansion of mobile banking in the country," the central bank said in a statement on Wednesday.

The nine-member committee will be chaired by B Sambamurthy, director, Institute for Development & Research in Banking Technology, will be the chairman of the committee and Vijay Chugh, chief general manager, RBI, the member-secretary.

The committee members will comprise officials from State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank. It also includes Anthony Thomas, chief information officer, Vodafone India.

The committee will study challenges faced by banks in mobile banking. It will also look inyo the problems faced while introducing the unstructured supplementary service data channel and suggest solutions. The committee will also consider the advantages / challenges of having a single application across all handsets in an SMS-encrypted environment.

The committee will also look at any other solution that could expand the reach of mobile banking, and draw up a roadmap to implement the solutions.

''The technical committee may include specialists in the field of mobile payments as permanent invitees,'' said RBI.

At the end of July, there were about 70 lakh users of mobile banking, which is currently offered by 78 banks.

The panel will also examine "any other optimum solution" that would take mobile banking to every nook and corner of the country.