KOCHI: If the initial responses are any indication, the ubiquitous mobile phone is set to become a tool for financial inclusion in Ernakulam district.
The mobile fund transfer facility launched by telecom companies Vodafone and Airtel have made rapid strides, particularly among the migrant work force, in the district. Excited by the feedback of customers, the companies are planning to offer more services soon.
“The target customers for the mobile money transfer service of the company are the migrant labourers from Bihar, northeast states, Orissa and UP. Currently they are staying in places like Perumbavoor, Kazhakootam, Vadakara, Edavanna and Payyipad. The Metro Rail construction in Kochi and the plywood industry in Perumbavoor employ a lot of migrant workers. M-Pesa is mainly used for money transfer, mobile recharges and DTH service subscriptions and utility bills. NREGA and microfinance are two areas where there is a huge opportunity,” said S Murali, business head - Kerala, Vodafone India.
The services currently popular among customers are recharging of phones and DTH connections, bill payments, money transfer, travel and movie ticket booking and transactions in fuel pumps.
Telecom operators would soon add facilities like payment of NREGA wages and premium for microinsurance to the range of services.
Companies like Aircel, Tata Teleservices, Idea and Reliance will soon launch the mobile money transfer facility.
Telecom companies are also targeting youngsters as their potential customers. According to an Airtel estimate, the average value per transaction is around `500 and it is likely to increase as popularity picks up.
They added that with Airtel Money, customers can save time while transferring money to their family in need.
“The mobile money transfer facility has the potential to foster financial inclusion and has the potential to bring about a sweeping change in the socio-economic landscape. It has the power to shift focus from cash to mobile, diminish the distance between money and consumers and usher in a revolution in the lives of the masses,” Airtel sources said.