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Know why SBI is killing the banking tech space

Know why SBI is killing the banking tech space
StrategyStrategy1 min read

State Bank Of India, which is India’s largest lender, is now gearing up to become the first Indian bank to offer wallet services for feature phone users.

Called "Batua", this mobile wallet service would be launched next month and would be available to both SBI and non-SBI customers. The application will be exclusively available on Java-enabled mobile phones.

"We want to cater to both India and Bharat and this new initiative is part of our efforts to cater to Bharat," said an SBI official. "Post-launch customers can log into download "Batua" on their desktop and load the app on their phone," he added.

SBI, which has been taking steps to become the banker to Digital India, has an annual IT budget of Rs 3,000 crore, a 20% market share, and a customer base of 28.6 crore. Out of this, 2.3 crore are net banking customers and 1.2 crore are mobile banking customers.

In August, it had also launched its mobile wallet called SBI Buddy, but that was for smart phone users. SBI Buddy enabled customers to send money to new and registered customers, book movies, flights, hotels as well as use the mobile wallet for shopping. Batua, however, would only enable customers to load, pay and receive money.

"We have a market place in Buddy. Unless the market place enables the Batua application to access these sites customers will be unable to enjoy the shopping experience on this app," the banker said.

The bank is now planning to launch another version of Batua, which would only be for very basic phones that don’t even offer internet access or allow downloading any apps.