In order to ensure a level playing field and considering that the mobile banking technology is relatively new, the Reserve Bank of India has brought out a set of operating guidelines for adoption by banks, according to which only banks which are licensed and supervised in India and have a physical presence in India will be permitted to offer mobile banking services.

The services shall be restricted only to customers of banks and holders of debit or credit cards issued as per the extant the Reserve Bank of India guidelines. Only Indian rupee-based domestic services shall be provided. Use of mobile banking services for cross border transfers is strictly prohibited.

The Reserve Bank of India has also insisted that only banks who have implemented core banking solutions would be permitted to provide mobile banking services.

According to the guidelines, banks offering mobile banking service must ensure that customers having mobile phones of any network operator are in a position to avail of the service. Restriction, if any, to the customers of particular mobile operator is permissible only during the initial stages of offering the service, up to a maximum period of six months subject to review.

The long-term goal of mobile banking framework in India would be to enable funds transfer from account in one bank to any other account in the same or any other bank on a real-time basis irrespective of the mobile network a customer has subscribed to. This would require inter-operability between mobile banking service providers and banks and development of a host of message formats. To ensure inter-operability between banks, and between their mobile banking service providers banks shall adopt the message formats like ISO 8583, with suitable modification to address specific needs, said the Reserve Bank of India.