Vodafone, in association with ICICI Bank, has initiated its mobile money transfer and payment service M-Pesa. The service shall help consumers deposit and withdraw cash from designated outlets, transfer money to any bank account or mobile number, pay utility bills and DTH recharges.
The service was initially announced in November 2012 when Vodafone India, through its 100 per cent subsidiary Mobile Commerce Solutions (MCSL), entered into an alliance with ICICI Bank. The service also offers the convenience of using money for e-commerce and m-commerce transactions and payments in select shops.
A win-win proposition?
With m-commerce still in its initial stages in the country, Vodafone and ICICI Bank have a challenging proposition at hand. However, if marketed well, the service holds a lot of potential in terms of strengthening the position of both the brands.
With plastic money not quite creating the desired rapport with a significant chunk of the population, an alternate instant banking method is looked forward to, especially in the developing areas. Also, with big brand names involved, the trust factor can be a marketing USP.
Statistics have also exhibited the inclination of the population in tier II and III cities towards e-commerce in the absence of any brand’s outlets. Similarly, if M-Pesa outlets are placed well, they are likely to garner more traction.
On the other hand, population in the metros, who are in sync with the plastic money culture, might not find M-Pesa an instant hook. Both Vodafone and ICICI Bank need an extremely strong marketing strategy to make it a household name.
Nonetheless, any service that offers convenience along with trust has a good scope in the Indian market. Thus, strategically the deal stands on strong ground, however its success shall depend on a lot of factors. In Kenya, 18 per cent of Vodafone’s revenue comes from M-Pesa.
Currently, the focus is on creating awareness about the service and educating the masses about its advantages.