As brands in the digital world are inching forward to being socially connected, financial businesses that run on trust are finding more ways than one to be social. ICICI Bank, India’s second largest bank, that had made its foray into social media by joining Facebook in January 2012, has launched a Facebook app called ‘Pockets by ICICI Bank’ that is aimed towards a social way of banking.
‘Pockets by ICICI Bank’ assures a safe, simple and social way of banking, while you are Facebook-ing. In addition, it also offers features like recharging your prepaid mobile phone or booking movie tickets for your whole gang. All you have to do is register on the Facebook app with your debit card number and PIN.
Designed as a complete website, the informative app has many social features including the ability to make transactions. For lack of an ICICI bank account number, we were unable to check out the options, however there is a very helpful FAQ when you scroll to the bottom.
Through ‘Split ‘n’ Share‘, you can manage, track, share and settle your group expenses for activities like group picnics, movies, outings, etc., by creating an event with details such as Total spends incurred, Event Name, last day to be settled by, etc. Add yourself and your friends as participants and split the expenses as you want. Enter the expenses incurred by each one of them and how much needs to be pooled. This event will be visible to all the Facebook friends who are part of this event.
Another Facebook feature used here is notifying your friends by sending messages for the creation of the group, and checking details of the event. Once done, a ‘Settle the tab’ will calculate who pays and who receives automatically. Once all the pending dues are closed, you can close the event.
Through ‘Pay a Friend‘, you can transfer funds to your friends without the need to ask their account details like account number, bank branch, branch IFS code, etc. When you send money through this service, an electronic coupon is generated of that value. The coupon details along with a pass code to redeem the coupon is sent to your friends mobile no, email id or Facebook depending on the friend’s contact medium selected by you at the time when the coupon is created.
However, if your friend has an ICICI Bank A/C, you do not need to use the ‘Pay a friend’ feature. You can transfer the money, provided your friend has been added as a Payee in your internet banking account. Pockets also facilitates one to do regular online banking activities like checking out account summary, account details and mini statement, checking credit card details, payment dues, demat holding statements, etc. One can also transfer funds and pay bills provided these have been added through the internet banking account.
Convenient banking but needs to include mobile
Interestingly, ICICI Bank had made a lot of noise when it had introduced the ‘Your Bank Account’ app while joining Facebook. The app enabled users to access their bank account through Facebook itself, however users were not convinced about its safety. While checking for that app, I was surprised to see that it has now been transformed into ‘Pockets by ICICI Bank’!
Emphasis has been laid on safety with features like secure browsing, two layer secure access, a unique dynamically generated one time password for each transaction, daily transaction limit, one Facebook account registered for one account, among others.
Pockets by ICICI Bank, although providing a comprehensive set of banking and non banking services, still raises a few concerns considering the fact that it is targeted at web users and the active Facebook users in a mobile first world. The major target audience for Pocket – the active Facebook users who have quite a few useful social features in the app, are likely to access Facebook through their mobiles. In the Facebook Q2 report, it was stated that monthly active users in India have shot up to 82 million with nearly 75% i.e. 62 million visits coming through a mobile device. And this is where the app fails to show up since it isn’t Facebook mobile optimized.
Pockets by ICICI Bank can reap its full potential if going further, it can build on its existing mobile app to add on similar social features, along with developing a Facebook mobile optimized Pockets app.
In case you bank with ICICI, do check out Pockets and share your experience with us.