India’s ICICI Bank debuts Twitter money transfers

#TWEET-A-RUPEE?:Eyeing the nation’s massive and growing mobile Web market, the bank joined a French pioneer in offering pay-by-tweet services

The Guardian

Thu, Jan 22, 2015 - Page 15

India’s ICICI Bank has launched a service called “icicibankpay” that allows customers to transfer money using Twitter.

Customers must follow the bank’s Twitter account to register their mobile device and then send @icicibank a direct message with the recipient’s user name and the amount to be transferred.

The recipient does not need to be an ICICI Bank customer.

ICICI Bank, one of India’s four big banks and the second-largest in terms of assets, is the second bank to add pay-by-tweet service. France’s second-largest bank, Groupe BPCE, introduced a similar service last year.

About 185 million of India’s total 213 million Web users accessed services through a mobile Internet connection last year.

The nation has a population of 1.2 billion, of whom about 10 percent — 120 million people — owned a smartphone last year, according to data from research company IDC.

However, the number of people who own smartphones in India is forecast to grow substantially, following the influx of less costly smartphones, such as the Motorola Moto G and models from local vendors, including Micromax.

“This rapid pace of growth in smartphones is expected to continue in India. While we notice that much of the growth is coming from low-cost devices using the Android operating system, Windows is making adequate gains too, based on the strength of the entry-level product mix in smartphones,” IDC India’s Kiran Kumar said.

ICICI Bank executive director Rajiv Sabharwal said that it was the company’s strategy to go where its users are, and that social media sites and mobile devices are critical.

The new financial services are the result of Twitter’s push into e-commerce, as the social network attempts to expand beyond advertising as a potential revenue stream, and aims to make Twitter a core experience in other activities.

Twitter Inc introduced a feature that allowed users to buy goods directly from some promoted tweets, while Amazon Inc introduced a feature that allowed users to add stuff to their online shopping carts for purchase using tweets.