ICICI Sharpens Focus On WAP; Launches WAP Based Mobile Banking Services

ICICI Limited (NYSE:IC and IC.d), the leading financial intermediary, has taken several initiatives in the field of high technology to bring world class convenience to its customers.

After becoming the first organisation to introduce WAP technology in India in April 2000, ICICI today launched mobile banking/commerce services for ICICI Bank customers using Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) technology.

ICICI became the first organisation in India to offer services based on WAP when, in April 2000, it launched the offering of real time stock quotes and the ability to monitor the performance of equity portfolio on-line. Subsequently, ICICI introduced the ATM and branch locator facility for WAP phone users, which provides a menu driven facility for identification of an ICICI ATM closest to the subscriber's current location.

In the coming weeks ICICI proposes to launch a range of its Personal Financial Services on WAP including personal banking services, on-line information tracking of utility bills, travel and ticketing information etc. The WAP solution to be offered by ICICI includes enhanced security mechanisms as compared to SMS. Going forward, WAP technology will be used for undertaking on-line transactions, making it truly mobile commerce.

ICICI has achieved the first milestone of this road map today, by launching various banking services for ICICI Bank customers. These include online balance update, cheque book request, details of last 5 transactions, statement request and verification of TIFD status in the demat account. In addition, ICICI's WAP solution would also enable an ICICI Bank credit card customer to check his outstanding balance, payment status, cash/credit limits and details of last 3 transactions. Payment services to certain standard utilities are expected to be launched shortly.

Mobile banking/commerce using Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) technology allows secure on-line access of web using mobile devices as opposed to using the SMS (short messaging service) technology, which works on e-mail, thereby entailing a time lag.

For the WAP technology project, ICICI has partnered with ICICI Infotech Services Limited (a group company) which has provided the technology, design, software solution and implementation of the project. The WAP server was provided by wabot.com.

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