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Mobile banking recently got a boost with the introduction of Inter-bank Mobile Payment Service, a real-time electronic fund-transfer service.

You just have to send money to someone urgently but can't access the Internet. Well, you have an unlikely superhero-your mobile phone. Mobile banking recently got a boost with the introduction of Inter-bank Mobile Payment Service (IMPS), a real-time electronic fund transfer service, which can be conducted through even the most basic mobile phone.

Launched by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), IMPS allows customers to transfer funds anytime from one account to another instantaneously using GPRS /Java and SMS facility. Currently, seven banks-SBI, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Union Bank of India, Yes Bank and Bank of India-have introduced the service.

Seven more banks are in the process of activating the system, while another 22 banks are in the preliminary phase of joining the service. To use the payment service, both the sender and the receiver must have accounts in banks which are linked to IMPS as well as sign up for the mobile banking facility.

Also, customers need to acquire a Mobile Money Identity (MMID), a seven digit number issued by the bank upon registration. As each account has a unique MMID and cell phone number combination, one can have multiple accounts linked to the same phone number. The RBI has announced that the NPCI will provide the service to the member banks free of cost till 31 March 2011, after which, it will charge a fee of Rs 0.25 per transaction.

According to the NPCI, the total number of MMIDs issued by the member banks had crossed the 10 lakh mark within 10 days of the scheme being launched. The banks plan to soon issue MMIDs to all the mobile banking customers.

To ensure a secure transaction process, customers need to have a login PIN or Mobile Personal Identification Number (MPIN), similar to an internet banking password. This will be needed to access the banking application.

A remittance will not be possible without the correct combination of MPIN, MMID and the receiver's mobile number. If even one of these numbers is erroneous the transaction will be reversed immediately.

If the transaction is carried out successfully, both the sender and the receiver will get a confirmation message from the bank. The RBI has defined that customers can transact any number of times in a day as long as the total amount does not exceed Rs 50,000 per day. However, for those using the basic nonencrypted SMS method to transfer money, RBI has set an upper limit of Rs 1,000 per day.

Trivia and telling figures
184 tonne
was the demand for gold from the jewellery sector between July and September 2010, an increase of 36% from 135 tonne during the same period in 2009.

$55 billion
is the amount that was remitted to India till 20 November 2010, the highest for any country.

100 million
is the number of people who will have access to broadband by 2014, according to J.S. Sarma, chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

Rs 2,809 cr
is the amount that will be spent through public-private partnership to set up 20 more IITs in the country. In addition, Rs 50 crore will be provided by the centre for faculty development.