International Women's Day 2024: Finance Products And Services Women Should Be Aware Of

International Women's Day 2024: Finance Products And Services Women Should Be Aware Of

By leveraging them, women in India can gain control over their finances, and build a secure future

Viral BhattUpdated: Saturday, March 02, 2024, 04:57 PM IST
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Financial independence and security are crucial for women in India. Fortunately, there is a growing range of financial products specifically designed to meet the needs and goals of women. Let’s explore some of the most beneficial options:

Savings accounts for women

Many banks like Indusind and ICICI provide Indus Diva Women’s Savings Account and ICICI Bank Advantage Woman Saving Account respectively, Bank of Baroda has Baroda Mahila Shakti Saving Account, RBL bank Woman’s First Savings Account, IDBI Bank Super Shakti Women Account in India offer specialised savings accounts for women.

These often feature perks and benefits like:

Some women’s savings accounts earn you a higher interest rate than standard accounts.

Zero-balance or relaxed balance requirements make it easier for womeen to maintain minimum balance in such accounts.

Enjoy discounts on shopping, healthcare, travel, and other services.

Debit cards with enhanced features include cashback offers, insurance benefits, or travel perks.

Loans with benefits

In order to impetus further growth of entrepreneurial initiatives, leading private and public sector banks, Non-banking Finance Companies (NBFCs) have introduced various business loan schemes for women entrepreneurs. Few and selected lenders also offer business loans and working capital loans at concessional interest rates to women entrepreneurs. Some schemes like Cent Kalyani Scheme, Mahila Udyam Nidhi Scheme, Mudra loan for women, Stree Shakthi Package, Bharatiya Mahila Bank merged with SBI Bank introduced this loan scheme for aspiring women entrepreneurs offered by financial institutions.

Women can access different types of loans with favourable terms:

Business loan encourages entrepreneurship with special loan schemes for women-owned enterprises. They can have lower interest rates and easier eligibility.

Home loans allows women to receive interest rate concessions.

Gold loans offer quick loan disbursals and competitive interest rates.

Govt-backed schemes

The Indian government has launched several schemes to promote women's financial empowerment:

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) promotes account ownership, with a special focus on women. These accounts come with zero-balance requirements and overdraft facilities.

Stand-Up India facilitates bank loans for women entrepreneurs to start new businesses.

Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana is an investment scheme for parents of girl children, encouraging long-term financial planning for their daughters’ future.

Investments tailored for women

Women can explore a range of investment options for financial security and different goals:

The Mahila Samman Savings Certificate is an initiative designed to promote saving and investment among women and girls. Launched as part of Budget 2023, this scheme offers a one-time opportunity and is accessible for two years, spanning from April 2023 to March 2025.

Life insurance: With life being unpredictable and women being vulnerable to numerous ups and downs, must have some kind of security in the form insurance – LIC’s Aadhaar Shila For Women and LIC New Jeevan Anand Plan For Women. There are term plans for earning women, self-employed women, housewives, and single mothers.

Health insurance: Healthcare expenses can escalate unexpectedly, leaving individuals burdened with exorbitant bills. Health insurance provides a safety net, ensuring that women have access to quality medical care without the constant worry of depleting their savings.

By having a health insurance plan, women can focus on their well-being without the stress of financial strain. A few health insurance plans women can choose from are: Bajaj Allianz Women Specific Critical Illness, Care Joy Maternity Insurance, Star Women Care Insurance, etc. These include cover for illnesses like cancer, in-utero fetal surgery or repair, congenital disability cover, accidental miscarriage, and more.

Important considerations

Before choosing any financial product, women should consider:

Financial goals: Short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals will help determine the right investments and savings plans.

Risk tolerance: Determine your comfort level with risk to help choose between various investment options.

Features and benefits: Consider all the fees, benefits, and interest rates attached to a product or loan.

Professional guidance: Seek advice from a financial advisor for personalised recommendations and help with complex products like insurance or investments.

By leveraging these financial products and services, women in India can gain control over their finances, pursue their goals, and build a secure future. It's essential to stay informed about the available options and to choose financial products wisely.

(Viral Bhatt is the Founder of Money Mantra, a personal finance solutions firm)

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