HDFC Bank is rolling out handheld machines across the country that can enable customers in rural areas to carry out most banking transactions enabled by an ATM, reports TOI. The device was launched nearly a year ago in rural areas, where the bank claims to see transactions aggregating to about Rs 1 crore monthly through about 1550 of these ‘micro ATMs’.
The device is capable of using a user’s Aadhaar number and fingerprint verification for eKYC verification, which it does by connecting to UIDAI servers. The device lets users withdraw or deposit cash, get account statements, get pre-approved loans and other such back functions. The bank mentions that it is currently also in the process of integrating pension payments for the Tamil Nadu government.
Other than this, HDFC Bank mentions that the machines can be used in rural areas for payments to pensioners and direct benefit transfers under MGNREGA. In urban areas, the device will be located in bank branches to help ease pressure during crowded times. However, it’s not clear how many micro ATMs the bank plans to roll out in the cities, or even in rural areas.
HDFC’s mobile payments: In February, multi-bank mobile banking app Chillr, tied up with HDFC Bank to both send and receive money over its platform. According to the startup, the app would remove OTP requirements and the need to remember account number and passwords for HDFC Bank users. The bank was also pushing its customers to adopt mobile banking and recently improved its application which allows 75 different kinds of banking transactions.
In January, HDFC Bank said it would launch a digital wallet and marketplace for various online merchants. The bank had said then that it was changing its strategy as it is seeing a shift in e-commerce from desktops to mobiles. The launch of a wallet would also enable contactless payments over mobiles using near-field communications (NFC).
Note that, HDFC Bank is also in the process of digitizing its processes and reduce the number of physical signatures in ink. The bank will digitize the submission of Form 15H which presently has to be submitted in person at the branch by senior citizens to avoid tax deduction at source.
Other developments in mPOS:
– Earlier this month Mumbai based mPOS solutions provider Mswipe raised $25 million in a series C round of funding from new investors Falcon Edge Capital, Ola Cabs and Meru Capital, and existing investors Axis Bank, Matrix Partners India and DSG Consumer Partners.
– Last month, payments company iKaaz launched a new new point-of-sale terminal which would allow tap-and-pay transactions through smartphones without Near field communications (NFC) enabled. The device called MOWA Wave would be available for all merchants in Bangalore and is expected to be rolled out by August.
– In October last year, Bangalore-based point of sale (PoS) startup Ezetap partnered with the State Bank of India to launch ‘Chota ATM’, a solution that can double as an ATM device as well as a PoS terminal that can accept payments from any debit and credit card. The company had also launched a debit card supporting mobile PoS solution in July 2013 and acquired the Hyderabad-based loyalty platform Clinknow in June 2014 to launch an integrated payments and loyalty solution for merchants across India.
– Last September, mobile financial & VAS company Mahindra Comviva entered into a partnership with payment solution provider First Data to roll out an mPOS solution in India. Comviva had first announced the global launch of payPLUS, its mPOS solution back in June 2013 although the company had not disclosed any signed-up partners for the initiative, thus, making this its first rollout. Note that Mahindra Comviva had earlier launched an mPOS solution called payPLUS in June 2013.
– In July last year, Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) had partnered Chennai-based Skilworth Technologies to introduce a mPOS solution called Bijlipay for SMEs across the country while in January 2013, Reliance General Insurance launched a mobile point of sales solution, that allowed customers to pay insurance premiums using a mobile phone via an external card reader dongle.