TRAI, India’s telecoms regulator, took action to encourage a greater take up of mobile banking.
It proposed a revised ceiling tariff for an outgoing USSD session for mobile banking and payments of INR0.5, down from INR1.5 previously.
The regulator admitted that the absence of bank branches and ATMs in rural locations is “a matter of concern”. There are only 7.8 bank branches per 100,000 head of population in rural and semi-urban areas, less than half of 18.7 bank branches per 100,000 head of population in urban areas (June 2015 figures).
The regulator also referenced a report backed by the Reserve Bank of India from December 2015 that suggested mobile technology is a good option to improve last mile service delivery.
The report said greater use of mobile banking was needed, as well as greater support from the government in the form of G2P payments.
A focus on mobile banking and payments has increased since the Indian government’s decision earlier this month to withdraw the country’s INR500 and INR1,000 notes in an attempt to maximise electronic payments (and tax returns).