PE-backed FINO buys Nokia’s prepaid mobile payment services biz in India

Mumbai-based financial inclusion services provider has acquired the prepaid mobile payment business of erstwhile Nokia Mobile Payment Services in India for an undisclosed amount. The acquired firm has been christened Alpha Payment Services India Pvt Ltd, to be headed by Shweta Aprameya. It will now focus on prepaid payment service offerings, such as money transfer, utility bill payment, mobile and DTH recharge, etc., under the brand Takatak Money.

This service would be bank and telecom operator-agnostic, and would aim to cater to the requirements of both urban and rural customers. FINO currently services 50 million customers across a host of banking products and services.

Manish Khera, CEO of FINO, said, “We believe that this initiative will take us beyond banking services to payments domain and enable direct engagement with customers. The assets we gain through this deal give us a distinct advantage in the market place.”

“It will add value to our comprehensive range of financial services products, thereby enhancing shareholders’ value. This new entity will further enhance FINO’s ability to meet the transaction needs of the unserviced and under-serviced population of the country, which offer a big business opportunity in the growing payment space in the country,” said Rishi Gupta, CFO of FINO.

A large chunk of retail transactions in India are still conducted through cash, presenting a huge opportunity for digital payment systems. With the overall mobile subscriber base closing in on the 1 billion mark, m-payment, as a channel, is expected to be a key part of the system in the future.

Founded in 2006, FINO has received funding from multiple investors, including World Bank Group’s IFC in a further round of funding in January 2012. Its key investors include Intel Capital, Headland Capital and Blackstone, as well as various banks. In its largest round of funding, Blackstone invested  Rs 150 crore in FINO last year to pick a significant minority stake.

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