HDFC Bank Builds Secure E-Commerce, Net Banking

The Housing and Development Finance Corp. (HDFC)
Bank is building a secure payments gateway for
e-commerce. Full service Internet banking and smart cards are in the works for June 1999.

The bank also plan to offer the facility to purchase goods online once
its Internet banking is up and running through tie-ups with other Web
merchants.

Apart from this, the bank is also expanding to cities like
Vijaywada, Mysore and Jaipur and expanding its ATM network by adding 30
ATMs over the current fiscal.

About 10 to 15 percent of its ATMs are likely to be off-site
ATM at areas like petrol pumps.

The HDFC Bank has announced that it has become the first bank in India
to link up its ATM network with all the three major payment systems
worldwide.

HDFC Bank senior manager Munish Mittal said that HDFC Bank will be the
first bank in the Asia-Pacific region to connect the American Express (Amex)
payment system. Using this system, Amex cardholders will be able
to withdraw cash from any of HDFC Bank’s 50 ATMs in India.

The bank will earn a transaction fee in addition to being reimbursed
the amount paid out.

This is currently in the range of Rs 72-75 (US$
1.68-1.75) for a domestic card transactions and US$2.25 for an overseas
card transaction on the Mastercard cards.

According to Mittal, by
leveraging its ATM investments by integration with other global payment
systems, the bank has managed to cut its pay-back period on ATM
investments by more than half to approximately two years.

HDFC Bank executive vice president C.N. Ram said that Amex had several
million cardholders overseas, a substantial portion of which visit
India either for business or holiday. Ram added that HDFC Bank would
launch debit cards like the Visa Electron by late June or early July
1999.

“We have tied up with Visa because they already have about 5,000
electronic data capture terminals which can be used to process debit
card transactions,” Mittal added.

The bank plans to have 100 terminals of its own and charge a nominal
fee for debit cards which is likely to be one third of that charged for
credit cards.

Mittal said that the bank had the largest number of ATM transactions
per month (3.8 lakh) for any bank in India.

The bank provides dual
language support, that is, operations in English or a regional language
like Hindi, Bengali or Tamil-based on the location of the ATM.

The bank
also offers a facility to make utility bill payments for its customers
to BEST, BSES, Max Touch, BPL Mobile and Airtel and schools like Bombay
Scottish in Mumbai via ATMs or tele-banking.

“We are also speaking to MTNL for bill payments in Mumbai and
Department of Telecommunications in Chennai, MSEB and a couple of
schools in Mumbai and Calcutta to offer ATM based fees/bill payment
facility,” Mittal added.

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