Spice Money, rural fintech, today announced that it has established a mammoth ATM network with 1 lakh Spice Money Micro-ATMs operating across rural India. The highest number of traditional ATMs installed by any bank in the country currently stands at approximately 60,000. Spice Money witnesses over Rs 1000 crores worth of transaction month on month basis on its mATM network, it said in a press statement.
India has lowest ATM penetration globally
While the access to banking in rural areas has been improving over the years, only 5 percent of the 6,00,000 villages had a commercial bank branch in 2019. When compared to global counterparts, India is among the countries to have the lowest ATM penetration in the world.
While the country has nearly 650,000 villages, only one ATM is available for 10 villages. Over 65 percent of the Indian population resides in rural India, however, rural areas account for only 20 percent of all ATMs in the country. Infrastructural costs, low usage due to lack of awareness, inconsistent availability of electricity, theft, vandalism are some of the major deterrents for ATM operators in rural areas. Such challenges continue to slow down the provision of basic banking amenities to this segment of population.
Rural incomes are rising, pushing up the demand for banking services in rural India. India’s digital footprint is expanding, enabling digital banking solutions that bring the underbanked and unbanked rural areas on the map of the banking system. Spice Money, as a company integrating technology into the rural financial network, is enabling its Adhikaris (banking correspondents), next-door Kirana stores/ stationery shops or any individual with access to internet, to equip themselves with the Spice Money micro-ATMs and turn their businesses into a Spice Money ‘Digital Dukaan’, offering essential banking services of cash withdrawal and deposit to their local communities.
Spice Money’s mATM network grew multifold from just over 18,000 in February 2020 to over 1,00,000 as on today. The Company covers 95 percent of the rural pincodes in India with more than 7 lakh adhikaris on its network, maximising the reach of the micro-ATMs to the financially underserved and cash-driven parts of the nation, it said.
Sanjeev Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, Spice Money, said, “As of March-end 2021, India had just 2.39 lakh ATMs for a population of over 1.3 billion. Spice Money has been working towards expanding the micro-ATM network to all corners of India bringing financial and digital empowerment so that rural consumers can access their own money and attain financial freedom.”
Sonu Sood, Brand Ambassador and Advisory Board Member, Spice Money, said, “I have been supporting small businesses with more growth opportunities so that they can prosper and also benefit the local community that they operate in. Spice Money micro ATM is a perfect fit for such small business owners who can now convert their businesses to Spice Money Digital Dukaan, in zero cost, and provide an additional service of essential banking products to their customers. Micro-ATMs can play the increasingly crucial role of bridging the gap in financial services by bringing the convenience of banking transactions right to the next door kirana stores in rural India.”