Enabling the Digital Banking in a Big Way along with Financial Literacy and Inclusion
India, with a population of 1.2 Billion people is one of the biggest Economies in the world. The current Percentage of Population that deals with the Banking system is only 47 % according to the statistics.
The remaining 50 % of the population is still not accessing the financial sector services due to Illiteracy, Lack of Financial Awareness and Infrastructure Inadequacy in the Remote Villages.
Now what all are the possibilities that we can look out to enable this large group of people to the financial network of the Country?
There are the below suggestions from an objective viewpoint which can vary due to different geographical patterns and the groups in focus.
Financial Literacy / Awareness Programs through Mobile Phones.
The reach of mobile phones to the large mass of population brings an opportunity to the government / NGO to travel in the direction of educating the economically backward people by the way of using very simple Mobile Based Education Programs. The majority of the mobile users are familiar with the SMS as they use it extensively for communication. Small Capsules of Financial Basics can be pushed to these groups using SMS service (Students, Factory / Retail Outlet Employees/ Self Employed Segment). The language flexibility can be achieved by putting some effort in research / connecting with Fintech companies working in this domain.
The Government / NGO can tie up with the Mobile service providers for support and they even can include these as part of their CSR agenda.
Introducing a mobile unit of a team who can give brief sessions on Financial Institutions, Various Banking Products that can be useful to the individuals of each group that they address. Even small Skit kind of programs can also be planned to bring more interest towards these programs. The FinBus can travel in the remote villages with a minimum of 2-4 volunteers and can cover upto 1000 – 3000 people in a week.
(Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad use such programs to effectively reach out to people and educate them on various subjects)
Observing ‘Bank Week’ in a Village / Taluk / District
This is something that can be achieved by leveraging on the marketing aspect of Banks , The Banks along with the Local Body Councils can arrange a ‘Bank Week’ in which the Banks can encourage their customers to bring in more customers they know and who are not possessing any account with Banks. In return, they can declare some reward points / small gifts to the existing employees (like Free Cheque Books, Waiving ATM Maintenance Fee etc)
Students Savings Scheme and Kiosks at Schools
The students can be encourages to the habit of putting small savings on a daily or weekly basics (Remember the old Sanchayika – Indira Vikas Patra etc.) and low cost Self depositing kiosks can be placed in school premises motivating the students to deposit the money themselves. This will create a large impact as the students can feel the ownership of the money and also they will encourage to get more savings.
Special Accounts for Housewives at Remote Villages and Collection Agents
Banks can arrange to have correspondents who can reach to women who are housewives on a daily / alternate day basis and collect their savings on a flexible amount basis. The POS machine s can be used to immediately print and give them a receipt of the amount. This is almost in place because of the products like RD and Post Office Accounts. The Banks can declare special interest rates to promote such savings.
Currency Chest / Card Swiping at Places of Worship And Customized Cards
These are always the places where devotees donate money for Poojas and Offerings. Instead of putting in ‘Hoondi’ and then moving the cash, Banks can collaborate with the Authorities and check for an option of having a Mini Currency Chest having set up near the premises or an Automated Card Payment system in place where devotees can pay the amount they want and get the coupon / receipt immediately . Already some Banks offer related services in their online Banking. Possibilities of providing Customized Prepaid cards can also be considered for devotees with online top up facility.
This is the setting up of a Kiosk / One Person Office by Banks in the popular markets of Cities. Reusable Temporary smart cards can be used here and the walk in customer can use a single card at the various retail outlets in the entire market area and later do the payment to the card using cash / card at the Kiosk or the Bank Correspondent at the premises.
“Sujay Sivasankaran is a Business Consultant with 9 years of experience.He did his Masters in Computer Applications from Bharathiar University.He has experience working with Standard Chartered Bank , Oracle Financials and Zafin Labs. Currently he is working with Dell International Services in their BFSI Consulting Practice”