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Marketers watch with some skepticism as ICICI enables ‘Twitter-banking’

ICICI Bank Ltd, a private sector bank in India has launch a banking services initiative through social media platform Twitter that enables ICICI Bank customers to transfer money to anyone in the country who has a Twitter account. ICICI Bank is the first bank in India to allow money transfer on Twitter. As part of the service, customers can also check account balance, view last three transactions and recharge prepaid mobile.

“ICICI Bank has always been a pioneer in using path-breaking and innovative technology to reach out to its customers. It has been our endeavour to anticipate our customers’ needs and be where our customers are. With the growing prominence of social media in every-day life, we believe our customers would be delighted to have yet another avenue which allows them to bank while they are on social media. In line with this, we introduced the world’s most comprehensive banking facility on Facebook in 2013,” Rajiv Sabharwal, Executive Director of ICICI Bank said in a post on the webiste.

“Now, ‘icicibankpay’ will help our customers to execute banking transactions while they are socialising on Twitter. This innovation is in line with our philosophy of ‘khayaal aapka’ wherein we offer products and services which make banking easier and more convenient for our customers,“ he added.

Any ICICI Bank savings account customer, who has a mobile number registered with the bank and has a Twitter account, can access the facilities of ‘icicibankpay’. The customer can send money to anyone in India even if the recipient does not have an ICICI Bank savings account.

This announcement comes following HDFC Bank, another private sector bank in India launching digital wallet to revolutionise the payment system in India where the users only need to provide their digital banking credentials.

If we closely track these developments it emerges that the banking industry in India is doing its fair share to digitise the payment system and contribute towards digital growth of the country. But the success of the project is dependent on the response it will get from the consumers.

“I am not sure if this initiative will pick traction with consumer because many may not be comfortable transacting through a social media platform as they may consider it to be insecure. The India online industry is still in its nascent stage to witness the success of such projects,” said Amit Bajaj, Communications Leader of Brand & Social Media at GE South Asia.

But ICICI Bank is trying to leverage the popularity of the platform. “Twitter always has and will continue to encourage innovation on our platform and we congratulate ICICI Bank for their creative use of Twitter in their new banking service. As a company that is focused on consumers, ICICI Bank has made the banking experience more convenient and personal through social media. This initiative with ICICI Bank is testament to the growing importance of Twitter as the best way for Indians to stay connected to their world,” remarked Arvinder Gujral, Director of Business Development -Asia Pacific at Twitter.

Deep Sherchan, Chief Marketing Officer, Simplify360 sees it as an innovative step by the brands. “Social media payment is still catching up and will only be used by a selected few for the exclusivity feature. Such initiatives are still in experimentation stage in India and adoption has a long way to go,” he added