in Finance, Government

Instant interbank funds transfer through mobile phone (IMPS)

National Payments Corporation of India (भारतीय राष्ट्रीय भुगतान निगम, NPCI) has launched Interbank Mobile Payment Service (IMPS) on 22nd Novemeber, 2010.

This is first of its kind service in the world, which allows fund transfer between individuals through their mobile phones. It provides any time instant money transfer service through mobile phones to any other person registered for IMPS service in any of the participating banks.

Need for IMPS:

As of now, interbank funds transfer is done through National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT). But issue with these transfers is the time lag as this is not a real time service and transactions are settled in batches.
Although there is already another almost instant funds transfer service available in name of Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS), but that has minimum transfer limit of 2 lakhs (much above what a common man generally does) and can only be done during banking working hours.
So RBI felt need for a real time and affordable fund transfer system to benefit the common man across the country (even to rural parts) and help their inclusion in country’s financial system. This will also reduce cash handling in country and RBI will have to print less currency notes.

There are more than 60 crores mobile phone users in India which is much higher than number of bank accounts (30 crores). So transfer through mobile phones make sense.  Once everybody starts using IMPS, you will be able to pay even to taxi guy, local shopkeeper or subzi-wala using it.

Benefits of IMPS:

  • 24×7 fund transfer, even on bank holidays
  • Affordable
  • Instant confirmation
  • Automated
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Safe and secure
  • Fast and cost effective
  • real-time
  • does not need computer or internet

Cost of transfer:

The IMPS service is free  till March 2011.  After March 2011, the NPCI will charge banks 25 paise per transaction.

At this time, customer will have to pay GPRS or SMS charges levied by the telecom service provider. For SMS based remittance, NPCI is trying to get waived-off by talking to mobile phone operators.

RBI regulations cap the maximum amount to be remitted at Rs.50,000 a day.

Transfer Process:

Mobile customer will have to register with his bank to activate mobile banking, in case not done already.

The bank will provide a special application (mostly a Java application)  for using the service. Download links for bank applications:

In case of a unsupported phone, transaction can also be done through SMS.

A bank account holder will have to get his 7 digit MMID (Mobile Money Identifier) number from the bank (unique id corresponding to every savings account).

How to transfer money:

  • Enter beneficiary 10 digit mobile number
  • Enter beneficiary 7 digit MMID number
  • Provide transfer amount
  • Provide bank authentication (user/customer ID and MPIN).
  • Once your details are authenticated, the money is transferred instantly from your account.
  • You will also get an SMS with the transaction status.


How to receive money:

To receive money to your account via instant money transfer you will need to share your mobile number and MMID with the payee.

Participating Banks:

Already live:

Soon to launch:

  • Coporation Bank
  • Citibank
  • Standard Chartered Bank
  • Canara Bank

About NPCI:

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has set up an institution for all the retail payment system in the country. Presently, there are ten core promoter banks ( State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank, Bank of Baroda, Union bank of India, Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Citibank and HSBC). The Board constitutes of Shri N. R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman, Infosys Technologies Ltd as the Chairman.

Other NPCI projects:

  • National Financial Switch (NFS) covers 41 member banks with about 60200 ATMs as of 30th June 2010. The daily average volume is around 2.75 million with a peak volume of 3.1 million in June 2010.
  • Automated Clearing House (ACH) known as Electronic Clearing Service (ECS) in India.
  • National Payment Card System Another goal being pursued by NPCI is to create a national card like China UnionPay in China. in Future, there is a plan that all domestic transactions to be routed through the national card system.
Facebook Comments

Write a Comment



  1. I think this IMPS service should not be free. There should be a nominal service charge. We Indians tend to misuse any thing free.

  2. Hi all
    I tried to do the IMPS transfer from SBI->ICICI, SBI->AXIS, ICICI->SBI, ICICI->AXIS., and even ICICI->ICICI, SBI->SBI; none of them worked as of now Dec 7th 2010. All of them given one reply that its invalid MMID, though i got all the MMID generated from the different bank ways and MMID is correct too.

  3. IMPS will work on 01/04/2011, isn’t this great? All other banking channels, except ATM’s will be closed. RTGS and NEFT will be closed.

  4. I tried this to transfer funds this month with IMPS and the money was transferred in the bank account in less than 15 minutes it was a really cool experience like they show in Tv adverts