Fino buys out Nokia’s m-payment business

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Fino, India’s largest business correspondent (BC) and alternative channel for financial services, acquired pre-paid mobile payment business of Nokia Mobile Payment Services in India. The company, however, refused to divulge any figure for the all-cash deal.

With this acquisition, Fino having achieved significant scale in banking services and enter the vast pre-paid mobile payment space. To provide a smooth and quality service to its customers and maintain the dynamics of customer-centric pre-paid business, the new entity Alpha Payment Services India Pvt Ltd (Alpha) will operate as an independent company.

Manish Khera, CEO, Fino said, “Acquiring India’s pre-paid mobile payment business from Nokia will take us beyond banking services to payments domain and enable direct engagement with customers. Assets we gain through this deal give us a distinct advantage.”

The new entity headed by Shweta Aprameya, will offer services such as money transfers, utility bill payments, mobile & DTH recharges and others under the brand “Takatak Money”.

This service would be bank and telecom operator agnostic and would aim to cater to the requirement of both urban and rural customers. There are pilot projects where a customer can pay their shopping bill also through mobile phone.

FINO currently services 50 million customers across host of banking products and services and is covering over 50,000 villages. This marriage of large deep penetration and modern technology backed offering is expected to create a winning formula for the benefit of large customer base.

According to one estimate, more than 65% of all retail transactions in the country are conducted in cash. This presents a huge opportunity for digital payment systems, the mobile channel being the most promising. There is huge faith being put on leveraging the large mobile penetration to tap this potential, currently estimated at 920 million subscribers in India. The rural market contributes to a considerable 35% of the total mobile subscribers in India.