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Did you know: You can pay merchants by sending SMSs

You can also use SMSs to send and receive funds in seconds, using the banks' immediate payment service (IMPS) facility

Given the cash crunch in the market, people are now using their mobile phones more and more for financial transactions.

Given the popularity of payment apps, one can be forgiven for believing that mobile banking is only about apps.

The fact is that there is a lot that you do even with an SMS and the unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) platforms. You don’t need a smartphone, or even download an app, to use them

SMS-based banking

This faciltiy is for those without mobile data or a smartphone. Before using this service, check the SMS charges levied by your telecom operator.

You have to start by registering your mobile number with the bank.

You can do this through net-banking, at an ATM, by visiting your branch or by sending an SMS with your account details to the bank.

Banks usually have a dedicated number for this facility, so verify it before sending your details.

You can do many things using SMSs, such as getting account statements and finding the nearest branch or ATM.

The key to using this service lies in knowing the correct keywords for the service you want. These vary across banks, though a complete list can be requested over SMS. For instance, to know the primary account’s balance, a Union Bank of India customer will have to type UBAL and send it to 09223008486.

You can also use SMSs to send and receive funds in seconds, using the banks’ immediate payment service (IMPS) facility. To do this, you must have a Mobile Money Identifier (MMID) number and a mobile PIN (mPIN). You get these while registering your mobile number. Typically, to send money by SMS, you start by typing ‘IMPS’, ‘the beneficiary’s account number’, Indian financial system code (IFSC) and the amount. Send the SMS to the to the bank’s designated number for this facility.

You will next be prompted for your mPIN. Once you do that, the money will be transferred. If you don’t know the beneficiary’s account number, and only have an MMID, then you can mention that in place of account details and the IFSC code, and follow the same procedure as above. You should prefer using MMIDs as these are more secure than sharing account numbers.

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