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ICICI Bank launches FB app for cash transfer

'Pockets by ICICI Bank' is targeted at the bank's internet savvy, 'youth' customers and offers a bouquet of facilities including booking movie tickets or recharging mobile phones.

As an extension to its 'Khayaal Aapka' philosophy, ICICI Bank has announced the launch of 'Pockets by ICICI Bank', a Facebook app that allows its young, social media savvy customers to carry out financial and non-financial transactions.

ICICI FB app
Chanda Kochhar

Speaking at a press conference, Chanda Kochhar, managing director and CEO, ICICI Bank, says that the creation of Pockets is in accordance to the bank's philosophy of providing convenience and choice to customers in interacting with the bank in whatever form, time or place they want.

Considering half of ICICI's retail banking customers transact online, and India being the third largest internet audience (about 17.6 million users, as on March, 2012) in the world having 82 million on Facebook, of which 40 per cent are aged below 30 years, the bank felt it could enhance the convenience of customers without their having to leave the social media platform. According to the bank, one-third of its customer base is aged below 30 years.

The range of 'Pockets by ICICI Bank' app features include 'Pay a friend', where a customer can transfer money to their Facebook friends even if they don't know their account number, bank branch or branch IFSC code. The request for money transfer is accepted by the bank, which creates an electronic coupon that can be redeemed by entering the coupon number and the password sent to the recipient's mobile phone or via email. The maximum amount that can be transacted on a day is fixed at Rs 10,000.

The 'Recharge prepaid mobile' feature helps customers to recharge prepaid mobiles. The app also enables customers to book movie tickets with their Facebook friends. The bank has used Book My Show's platform to facilitate the service.

The 'Slip 'n' share' feature allows customers to split and track expenses that may have been spent as a group. The customer can also send reminder messages to friends if there are pending payments.

The 'Pockets by ICICI Bank' app also offers customers to open fixed or recurring deposits, order a cheque book, stop cheque payment and upgrade debit cards.

In order to use the 'Pockets by ICICI Bank' app, which goes live on Wednesday, September 25, the customers have to log in to their Facebook account and go to ICICI's Facebook page, where they can view the app's tab. The tab opens to a fresh page, where they are asked to complete a one-time registration by entering the debit card number and PIN.

"We believe it is a first-of-its-kind of service in the world. It enables customers to not only view their account and other banking details but also do transactions," Kochhar says, stressing that the app is not so much a business move as it is a step towards improving customer convenience.

The bank launched its Facebook page in January 2012. She says, at the time, it introduced the 'Your Bank' app, which mainly provided enquiry based service. The Pockets app, however, offers more comprehensive services. ICICI Bank's Facebook page has around 2.4 million fans, which it claims is the fifth largest among banks in the world.

The Pockets app was developed by ICICI's internal technical team over a period of three months. While Facebook is just the channel, the monetary transaction page is linked to ICICI Bank. Besides the browser running on https, the app uses 128-bit encryption that ensures the information shared is safe. Also, each transaction generates an OTP (one time password), sent on the customer's registered mobile number to help authentication.

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