Did you know: You can move money without mobile app

You can do a lot of banking transactions using the simple SMS facility. But here you need to remember the code of all the services you want to use


Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

In view of the government’s push towards digital money, many banks are encouraging customers to download their banking apps. While there are barriers such as smartphone ownership and data charges associated with these apps, many may just not feel comfortable using them. Thankfully, you can do mobile banking even without apps.

You can do a lot of banking transactions using the simple SMS facility. But here you need to remember the code of all the services you want to use. But if you use the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) based services, you don’t have to remember the code of the services. It is a bit like checking your mobile balance. Dial a number from your phone, and a dialogue box, with a menu, appears. But it does not offer the full range of services offered by apps.

In India, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has a USSD-based mobile banking offering called National Unified USSD Platform (NUUP). Using this, you can complete many banking transactions such as sending and receiving money, account balance enquiry and getting a mini statement.

With NUUP, you can transfer money and choose many other services from the menu on your mobile phone screen. To use this, you don’t need a smartphone or mobile internet connection. However, you have to ensure two things. Your phone must be registered for this service. And you must have a Mobile Money Identifier (MMID), which is issued by your bank.

Customers of any bank can access this facility by dialing *99#. Next they will be prompted to key in either a short name of the bank or its unique numeric code. For example, a State Bank of India (SBI) customer can punch in SBI to proceed with the transactions. Next, the system will display options such as account balance, send money and generate a one-time password (OTP), with a number next to it. Choose the number next to your choice. For example, if an SBI customer entered ‘1’ here, and pressed the send button, she would have her account balance in the next screen that would open on her phone.

For sending money to merchants or any other person, you need their MMID. If you don’t have it, you will need their bank account number and their bank’s Indian Financial System Code (IFSC).

To send money, after you choose the option to send money, choose whether you want to use an MMID or bank account with IFSC. You will also need to enter the recipient’s phone number, the amount you want to transfer and lastly, to verify the transaction, your mobile PIN. Remember, there is a limit of Rs 5,000 per transaction for using NUUP technology.

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