It has been a quarter of a century (1996) since electronic banking was started in India, followed by online banking about three years later (1999). And nearly two decades since mobile banking was started with SMS (in 2002). Since then, banking services have seen a sea change. So much so that one does not need to visit the branch for any transaction.
Given that many small towns and villages do not have any bank branches, a mix of digital initiatives is required to include the population from non-urban areas. And one such crucial initiative is a customer facing app to serve a singular interface between the customer and the bank.
With the launch of Digital India in 2015 by the Government of India, there has been an increasing push towards digitalisation in most areas. However, to ensure that most of the country’s population, living in small towns and villages, do not miss being a part of this revamping in the way we transact, a customer facing app becomes even more crucial. Primarily, it helps the underserved people of our vast population. And at the same time, it creates a seamless interaction between the customer and the bank.
So, if one wants to conduct any transaction, this new-age digital platform makes it all easy at the click of a finger on your smartphone. What is more, the products and services are available 24x7, so no customer has to wait to do any transaction. Even EMIs of loans can be paid digitally, through the application. And if that is not enough, no customer needs to worry about keeping cash or withdrawing money from their account. Those apprehensive about the safety of their deposits need not worry as the application comes with its built-in and programmed security, so there is no chance of any fraudulent transaction by any third party.
The application also enables one to calculate loan EMIs and decide on how much to borrow, at what interest rate and how soon to repay the debt. Of course, the app has the provision of paying EMIs digitally. So, a customer does not need to visit a branch to deposit the loan EMI in the account as transacting digitally will ensure a steady flow of the money credited. And consequently, storing loan details will enable paying the EMI using fingertips on the application on the mobile phone.
To cite an instance: Vidya Purandare, a woman who has a grocery store in Aamgaon, a small town in Maharashtra’s Gondia district. Having taken a loan, she must ensure that her account is funded with the required amount before the EMI is debited. So instead of remembering to deposit that amount in her account, Vidya opts the digital way for a considerable number of her transactions. This way, she ensures that her account has substantial savings to cover her EMIs.
Moreover, by the due date, Vidya logs into the app to pay her EMI without having to venture to any bank/branch. In case someone has more than one loan, the customer facing app allows the user to prioritise which EMI to pay first etc.
Interestingly, there is a wide variety of loans a customer can avail of by logging into the app. Whether it is a gold loan, or business loan or even agriculture or microfinance loan, the customer need not visit the bank/branch with his documents and identity proofs. He can apply for his requirement on the app itself. And before that, the customer can also check his credit store on the app, using its (app’s) credit score calculator.
Not to forget, the customer can also use the app to make utility payments, be their electricity bills, DTH charges, mobile payments, etc. through the app.
In the last few years, fintech companies have launched several initiatives to service such customer needs.
(Prashant Kumar is Head - Products & ERM, SUB-K a Corporate Business Correspondent and a digital finance intermediary)
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)