Finnish handset maker Nokia on Monday announced that it will embed its ‘Mobile Money’ application across all its handsets going ahead, a move aimed at driving financial inclusion through mobile devices, across the country.

The ‘Mobile Money’ service is aimed at providing the unbanked and under-banked masses, access to financial services through their mobile phones.

“As part of Nokia’s vision of enabling a broad community with financial services, the application would be available not only on high-end Nokia smartphones, but also on feature phones and entry level devices,” Nokia General Manager (Mobile Payment Services) Gary Singh said.

The application can be used to do a variety of transactions like bill payment, money transfer, prepaid SIM top-up, account management and cash withdrawal from cash-out outlets (registered Nokia stores) and ATMs. One of its latest handsets, X1-01 (a dual-SIM phone) has the application embedded.

Currently, mobile operator Bharti Airtel offers “Airtel money” service, which allows subscribers to pay for groceries, bills and other dues through their mobile phones.

The Nokia Money Mobile financial services initiative is already being implemented in India through partnerships with Union Bank of India (UBI), Yes Bank, Obopay and a wide range of merchants, retailers and business correspondents, he added.

The services, called Union Bank Money and Mobile Money Services (by Yes Bank) are already available in several regions and will be rolled out pan-India in the forthcoming quarters.

“We would like to see the services rolled out pan-India over the next 12-18 months,” Mr. Singh said.

Consumers will have the option of choosing and subscribing to either Union Bank Money or YES Bank Mobile Money Services from their Nokia devices.

The Reserve Bank is looking to use mobile phones as a medium for taking banking facilities to the remote and far flung areas for achieving financial inclusion.

The basic transactions permissible over these accounts include cash deposit, cash withdrawal, balance enquiry and transfer of money.

The potential of mobile telephony could be gauged from the fact that there is an over 82 crore mobile subscriber base in the country.

Banks are currently permitted to offer this service to their customers subject to a daily cap of Rs. 50,000 through Java/GPRS enabled mobiles and up to Rs. 5,000 through non-Java/non-GPRS enabled mobiles by using Unstructured Supplementary Services Data (USSD)/SMS.

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