If you thought that credit cards made it easier to shop for your basic necessities, mobiles phones are taking it a step ahead. The National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) ensures this, as they launched their Interbank Mobile Payment Service (IMPS) on Monday. This service can be used not just at large retail outlets, but also for nominal things such as paying a cabbie or a rickshaw and buying your vegetables from the local vendor.

Forgot your wallet at home? No problem… Use your cell phone to make payments

Using this facility is apparently not difficult at all. Your bank will provide you with a unique seven-digit mobile money identifier (MMID), which is given to each account linked to any cell phone number. You will also need the vendor’s number, so money can be transferred to it. You should receive a confirmation as soon as the transaction is done. Of course, there are limits set to how much you can spend on a daily basis. The current limits have been set at Rs 1,000 per day for unencrypted transactions and Rs 50,000 per day for end-to-end encrypted transactions.

So far, NPCI is not charging banks for offering this service to its customers. The organization has also requested banks not to charge their customer for the service till March 2011. The only cost that customers will have to bear is a nominal one that the telecom service provider charges for using GPRS to facilitate the transaction. However, after March 2011, NPCI will charge banks just 25 paise per transaction. Many banks are offering this facility including State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Union Bank of India, Yes Bank and Bank of India.

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