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Fino buys Nokia's mobile payment biz 'Nokia Money'
Fino buys Nokia's mobile payment biz 'Nokia Money'
By: iMedia News Bureau

Fino, a financial inclusion service provider has acquired Nokia Money, Nokia’s Mobile Payment Service in India for an undisclosed amount, according to a PTI release.

India's largest business correspondent (BC) and alternative channel for financial services, Fino has named the new business as Alpha Payment Services India Pvt Ltd which will serve as a separate entity. The brand name has also been changed to Takatak Money.

Nokia was planning to exit its financial services in India in order to focus on devices and location-based services thereby moving out of non-core areas.

Shweta Aprameya will head the new entity that will offer services such as money transfers, utility bill payments, mobile & DTH recharges and others.

FINO claims to currently service 50mn customers across host of banking products and services and is covering over 50,000 villages.

Nokia had launched mobile money in 2010 through a partnership with YES Bank. Subsequently, it signed up with Union Bank to offer services such as bill payments and money transfer. Nokia Money allowed users with or without bank accounts to pay bills and retailers, send money through their mobile phones.

The Finnish handset maker had announced in March that it will exit from Nokia Money, to concentrate on devices and other areas.

In April, Mumbai based financial facilitator announced its expansion plan in north eastern regions. Fino operates through a network of 27,000 field force and works with 24 banks. It operates on a business technology platform using biometric smart cards and hand-held devices.

Since its inception in 2006, it has managed to attract big investors. Some of these include Intel Capital and International Finance Corporation, Indian public sector banks, LIC and more recently Blackstone Private Equity. In July 2011, global private equity major Blackstone invested Rs 150 crore for an undisclosed stake in the company.

So far, Fino claims to enrol 46 million customers through its BCs out of the 80 million, leading the market in this segment. It plans to enrol around 100 million customers in the next three years.

The number of mobile subscribers in India has reached to whopping 920 million which presents a huge opportunity for digital payments system.

Bharti Airtel, HDFC, MasterCard, Visa are few other players in the mobile payment market.