HTML clipboardHTML clipboard
In 2001, a Reserve Bank of India survey revealed that of 46 major banks operating in India, around 50% were either offering Internet banking services at various levels or planned to in the near future. According to a research report, while in 2001, India's Internet user base was an estimated 9 lakh; it was expected to reach 90 lakh by 2003. Also, while only 1% of these Internet users utilized the Internet banking services in 1998, the Internet banking user base increased to 16.7% by mid- 2000.
Many of the major banks like ICICI, HDFC, IndusInd, IDBI, Citibank, Global Trust Bank (GTB), Bank of Punjab and UTI were offering Internet banking services. Based on the above statistics and the analysts' comments that India had a high growth potential for Internet banking, the players focused on increasing and improving their Internet banking services.
As a part of this, the banks began to collaborate with various utility companies to enable the customers to perform various functions online. ICICI's 'Infinity,' which was already a leader in the Indian Internet banking arena, began to allow its customers to pay their online real time shopping bills. HDFC, through its 'payment gateway' feature, allowed its Internet banking customers to make online and real time payments for their purchases.
HDFC also entered into tie-ups with various portals to provide these business-to-customer (B2C) e-commerce transactions. Centurion bank acquired an equity stake in the teauction.com portal to bring together buyers, sellers, suppliers, registered brokers and associations in the tea market and eliminate the need for their physical presence at various auctions. As more banks entered Internet banking arena, the competition between the banks also increased. This compelled the banks to focus on capturing new markets and customers and adopting advanced technology on the Internet. In the light of these developments, industry watchers remarked that Internet banking had arrived in a big way. Though it had a long way to go compared to the global standards, it was beginning to be seen as a replacement for the traditional banking set up in the future.