Uttar Pradesh Forest Corporation (UPFC) has tied up with FINO,(Financial Inclusion Network & Operations) a provider of financial inclusion services, to launch a Smart Card  based collection and payment disbursal system for the tendu leaf collectors of Lalitpur, Uttar Pradesh. The system will not only facilitate the transaction and settlement process, but also intends to bring banking services to these workers, who continue to remain unbanked. This service would replace the current system of tokens, which are issued and usually settled for payments in 2-3 weeks. FINO has partnered several banks including ICICI to bring it into effect.

The tendu leaf collectors will be enrolled by FINO along with ICICI Bank, and a no-frills bank account will be opened for each one of them. They will be provided with biometric smart cards bearing a Unique Registration Number (URN) along with their photographs and finger prints. This card will be linked to their no-frill accounts.

The smart card will be updated with the information pertaining to the daily collection of the tendu leaf collectors using a handheld Point of Transaction (POT) Terminal. The system calculates the amount to be paid and issues a receipt to the collector. He can then choose to get a cash payment or credit the amount to his account.

Besides being a technology enabler, FINO also manages cash on the field, through its network of 12,000 agents. The organization claims to have a customer base of 24 million, adding 50,000 customers on a daily basis. It carries out more than 3 million transactions in a month, across 23 Indian states and 293 districts.

It offers savings bank accounts, loan products, recurring deposits, remittances, insurance products, government disbursements and others. It has alliances with Axis Bank, Corporation Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, ING Vyasa Bank, OBC, PNB, SBI and Union Bank of India. FINO is also involved in government-funded schemes such as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana through ICICI Lombard.