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Banks using Whatsapp, Facebook to make transactions easier

Ever thought of tweeting for a mobile recharge? Or Facebook-banking
 for a fund transfer? Banks are making advents in social media banking with an end to easing transactions for customers. ‘iMobile Smart Keys,’ launched by ICICI Bank last week enables customers to pay bills, transfer funds via chat, messenger, email or games without having to exit their current application in their smartphone.Customers need not switch tabs or applications to access ‘iMobile’ making for faster transactions.
And the fact that social media banking has its adherents is proved by the user base of “Pockets by ICICI Bank,” which lets you transfer money to a friend, buy movie tickets, recharge your mobile via Facebook Messenger , SMS or Gmail.
“We have had more than 4 million downloads at ICICI Pockets since our launch last year. One doesn’t need to know the account number, bank branch or IFSC code to send money to any contact on social media. How it works is -you send a e-coupon in their name, which they can redeem in 3 days,” says Abonty Banerjee, senior general manager & head -Digital Channels, ICICI Bank.
“Once you send the e-coupon via Facebook, email or SMS, they can enter their bank credentials and redeem the coupon. To redeem the coupon, a passcode will be sent to the registered mobile number, which can be shared with the friend to whom the money is being transferred to,” adds ICICI Bank’s Banerjee.
For opening FDs, checking account balance or recharging your prepaid mobile, one can also tweet to ICICI Bank.
“One can send a direct message (DM) to the bank account and get an OTP for authenticating it,” says ICICI Bank. Apart from Facebook and Twitter, WhatsApp is also being explored as an option for banking. At DBS Bank, chat-bots are to be introduced so that customers can communicate with the bank via WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook.
“Say you go out for dinner with a group of friends and one person pays the bill by swiping his card. He can later WhatsApp that the bill splits to Rs 320 each and the others can immediately send him that money using WhatsApp itself,” says ICICI’s Banerjee.
“The idea of free text is exciting. People want something convenient with minimal effort,” P Venkatesh, director platforms and solutions, Maveric Systems, which is working with 7 challenger banks in the UK on building and managing their social media banking system.
And how does it work?
“There is an app that works in the background which is unknown to the user. Once the user goes on Twitter or Facebook and puts a request to transfer funds, this is encrypted and sent to the bank which then asks the user to authenticate themselves by taking a selfie (facial recognition) and say a few words (voice recognition). Given most users have multiple bank accounts, with some banks, the primary bank account is automatically selected while for others, one has to mention which bank. Some of these apps also support multi lingual functionalities,” says Venkatesh.

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