Mobile payments among consumers growing: KPMG

According to the survey conducted by KPMG, 83% of the respondents believe that the use of mobile phones for payment will be a mainstream practice within four years

With companies racing to take advantage of new technologies facilitating payment services over mobile phones, most executives worldwide believe the use of cell-phones for financial transactions will gain widespread acceptance within four years, according to a KPMG survey.

According to the survey conducted among nearly 1,000 executives primarily in the financial services, technology, telecom and retail industries globally, 83% of the respondents believe that the use of mobile phones for payment will be a mainstream practice within four years.

In fact, 46% of the respondents believe mobile payments will be the mainstream within the next two years. Furthermore, 9% of the respondents saw payments over mobile phones as mainstream even today.

"We believe that exploding smartphone growth and myriad opportunities will grow mobile payments at a much faster rate than our respondents anticipate," the Global Chair of KPMG's Technology, communication and entertainment practice, Mr Gary Matuszak, said.

"A wide variety of payments is ready for adoption, as several key players already provide or are rolling out mobile payments and interest among consumers in utilising mobile payments is growing, in line with the industry's readiness to deploy them," he added.

The 2011 KPMG Mobile Payments Outlook said that 72% of the executives surveyed opined that mobile payments are already important, or will be reasonably so in the future, with companies already looking to leverage its potential, even as m-banking has gained significantly greater traction.

What is more, 58% of the respondents said they already have a mobile payments strategy in place, the survey noted. Specifically, 81% believe convenience/accessibility is the most important attribute, followed by simplicity/ease of use (73%), security (57%) and low cost (43%).

At the same time, business leaders globally view security as the main challenge to developing mobile payment strategies. Technology is regarded a distant second, followed by privacy.


Of 15 lakh service tax payers, 9 lakh not filing returns: CBEC

According to the Central Board of Excise and Customs, only six lakh service tax payers are filing returns

The Revenue Department is trying to locate 9 lakh business entities which have stopped filing service tax returns, with a view to improving collections, meeting Rs82,000-crore target in 2011-12 and to ascertain whether there is any tax evasion.

There are 15 lakh registered service tax payers in the country. According to the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) chairman SD Majumdar, only six lakh service tax payers are filing returns.

"So, nine lakh have stopped filing returns. We are trying to locate them and find out whether they have really stopped providing service or there is (tax) evasion," Majumdar told PTI. He said the Revenue Department was taking a number of steps to increase the indirect tax collection.

"We have taken a number of steps towards the recovery, so that there is no evasion of service tax," he said, adding that service tax collection has been good in the first four months of the fiscal. In the April-July period, the growth in service tax collection is estimated at 35.5%, Majumdar said.

In 2010-11, the service tax collection was Rs70,200 crore, which exceeded the revised estimates of Rs69,400 crore. In the previous year, the tax mop-up was Rs58,422 crore.

The tax, at a rate of 10%, is imposed on a limited number of services, like banking, hotel and telephony. However, with the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) the scope of service tax would be widened.

The Finance Ministry is working on a 'negative list' of service tax, meaning all those services which are not in the list would be taxed.


IndiaFirst eyes Rs1,200 crore from new biz this fiscal

IndiaFirst Life Insurance new business premium has reached Rs150 crore till July

One of the youngest players in the life insurance space, IndiaFirst Life Insurance, has set a target of mopping up Rs1,200 crore from new premium this fiscal and has lined up a bouquet of products to help achieve this goal.

"We have one group savings product, one unique offering for high networth individuals and a pension plan in the pipeline for this fiscal. The pension plan will be launched when the regulatory guidelines are out," IndiaFirst managing director and chief executive P Nandagopal told PTI. The company's new business premium has reached Rs150 crore till July, which was its target for the first quarter.

"We are already on track for achieving the Rs1,200-crore new business premium target by the end of the fiscal," he said. To achieve this, the private insurer is also planning to increase its agents to 5,000 from the present 500 in this fiscal.

IndiaFirst is also working on four more offerings, including two health products for FY13, he said. The private insurer already has a dozen products, both under the traditional and unit-linked portfolios.

"Our recent foray into health insurance had tremendous response and we have already sold 5,000 plans," Nandagopal said, adding he was expecting selling 30,000 IndiaFirst Money Back Health Insurance Plan by the end of FY12.


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