Mobile Payment Forum to come out with user-friendly features


Chennai: The Mobile Payment Forum of India (MPFI), a think tank, has set its eyes on coming out with a number of user-friendly features like voice-based authentication, a top official said.

A joint initiative of the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology, Hyderabad and Rural Technology Business Incubator, IIT Madras, MPFI’s mission “is to enable mobile payments and financial services through secure, efficient and low cost transaction.”

It played a key role in developing interoperability and security standards for Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), the basic platform for mobile payments, and later the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), built using IMPS.

MPFI’s stakeholders include policy makers, banks, telcos and others. “MPFI will focus on futuristic solutions such as voice based authentication and security and privacy, among others,” MPFI chairman Gaurav Raina said.

As a solutions oriented think tank, MPFI was looking at issues across policy, business and technology over short, medium and long-term horizons, he said during an interaction with PTI.

Raina, a Professor at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M), said others like creating user awareness, simplifying message formats for SMS banking, proximity payments and Near Field Communication (tap and pay) would also be taken up in the coming months. For instance, MPFI was working towards standardisation of message formats for SMS banking across banks, he said.

“Not everyone has a smartphone.. Connectivity could be patchy although it is getting better.. SMS as a channel for at least basic financial services should be promoted and needs standardisation,” he explained. For example, one mastercode could be used across banks for account balance purposes, Raina said.

On voice-based authentication, he said it was being assumed that there was a certain level of literacy whenever a financial transaction is done, but the aim was to make it easier for more and more people. Further, elderly people may not be comfortable with other kinds of technology, he said.

“So can we not think of a world where voice plays a very important role in banking,” he said on efforts on designing voice-based authentication.

MPFI will focus on developing such features over the coming years, he said.

Giving statistics, Raina said that in August 2017 alone, there were over 90 million financial transactions using IMPS and UPI.

As many as 500 million transactions were done on IMPS in FY 2016-17, he said. “These massive growth numbers are but a small indication of the tremendous potential for mobile payments in the Indian economy,” he said.