Going a step beyond reducing call rates and better connectivity, Airtel is now riding the wave of mobile value added services using the mChek platform. The service is proving to be a boon for people short on time to pay their bills or transfer money from their mobile phones. This fact is also highlighted in the latest ads of Airtel featuring actors Madhavan and Vidya Balan. These ads have also spawned several ‘me too’ clones, none, however, managing to capture the endearing quality of the original ads.
The latest Airtel ads work on the premise that in today’s hectic lifestyles people are looking for various options to deal with the necessities of life with convenience – be it bill payments, money transfer or any other financial transaction. Hence, there was a need to communicate this and that too on a big level.
Explaining these services, Navin Thangiah, Director, Market Development, mChek, said, “mChek is a mobile payment company that allows customers to link a financial instrument with his mobile phone and be able to complete the transaction. The nature of these transactions is essentially – all the transaction that one can do with one’s wallet, including utility bill payment, any commerce transaction with a website, mobile or over the counter with the merchant. mChek platform is similar to a mobile wallet allowing for all transactions one can think of to happen from a unified interface.”
This facility can be utilised by undergoing a one-time exercise of registering, whereby the user generates a six digit pin which is required for all transactions. Thangiah vouches for the safety of this medium and claims it is more secure than a transaction on a website. He said, “While transacting via the Net, we need to give card details and it goes through multiple intermediaries. But with mChek, you are only entering your pin, which is known only to you and is not even stored as a data on mChek. Your financial instrument details are not known.”
An indigenous product, conceived and developed in Bangalore, mChek was launched in September 2007. The platform won an award for ‘best billing and customer care solution’ for Airtel at the 13th Global Mobile Award 2008 of GSMA. Moreover, Visa has certified the security status of mChek solution.
So what is the reason behind these communications and that too on such a huge level at this point of time? Thangiah explained, “We have shown that mobile payment is a viable concept and the proof of concept is shown with certain numbers being done. Any product needs to prove its technological capability and customer acceptance, which in this case has happened in a span of 7-8 months, which is very surprising.”
He added, “mChek enables to connect two important parts of our lives – one is communication and the other is money. We all are looking for ways to make life simpler. We all have requirements to pay for various products. Communication with the mobile phone solved the huge issue of communication anytime and anywhere. Now with mChek on the phone, we are able to bridge another gap of being able to transact at any point of time and anywhere.”
“A radical technology needs to be communicated. We have seen a lot of traction happening without the ATL. In fact, we reached our first lakh customer without any ATL communication, that’s because of the quality of our product which got people talking. However, there is a huge opportunity as there are 275 million mobile phone users, and to target them one does need effective communication,” explained Thangiah.