National Payments Corp. of India in November reportedly plans to launch a payment system that would enable consumers in that country to transfer funds for free to any account in India held by participating financial institutions using their mobile phones.

The Reserve Bank of India has granted permission to five banks to pilot the system–State Bank of India Ltd., ICICI Bank Ltd., Union Bank of India Ltd., Bank of India Ltd., and Yes Bank India Ltd., according to The Mint, a local newspaper. Two other banks, Axis Bank Ltd. and HDFC Bank Ltd., would join later.

Each of the parties involved declined to responded to PaymentsSource requests for comments about the trial. However, an official at the state bank’s alternate channels department offered some insights on the condition of anonymity.

“The interbank mobile-payment system will be accessible to all accountholders of the [participating] banks,” he says. “There will be a cap of 50,000 rupees (US$1,121 or 813 euros) a day on mobile transfers, however.”

Both senders and receivers of funds would have to get from their banks a special Mobile Money identification, which essentially would be a user name, and they would have to register for the mobile-banking service, the official says.

 Users would download a mobile-banking application on their phones, and the banks would use it to process the transactions when the sender types in the four-digit personal identification number provided to mobile-banking usersfor authentication.

Local media also speculated that National Payments Corp. of India soon will launch its own electronic card payment system to counter the fees charged by such foreign networks as Visa Inc. and MasterCard Worldwide (see story).

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