Around 5000 micro ATMs will be installed across fuel stations on highways nearby rural areas, the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, said in a statement. Payment solutions provider Oxigen has been commissioned to install micro ATMs by the ministry which will allow withdrawals, cash deposits, balance enquiries and money transfers to Aadhaar-linked bank accounts.
Oxigen initiated the service last month and currently claims to have deployed Micro ATMs at over 1000 rural locations including in states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa. It also deployed Micro ATMs in the urban areas as well including at 27 locations in Delhi NCR. In the future, Oxigen aims to install 3,000 additional micro ATMs by the end of December 2016. Oxigen had launched the Micro ATM service through a tie up with Telepower, China to develop the software back-end back in 2012.
Micro ATMs have been on the rise after the recent demonetization move. RIL’s Chariman Mukesh Ambani said last week that Reliance Jio will be installing Aadhaar-based micro ATMs through tie ups with offline merchants. Punjab National bank was reportedly modifying its PoS devices to act as ATMs. Other banks like SBI, AXIS Bank has also been providing the service for a while in metro cities as well as in airports. Note that the Micro ATM service was also available long before the demonetization move. HDFC bank had deployed PoS 1550 devices, which act as ATMs across across rural areas since July. PoS device provider Ezatap also partnered with the State Bank of India to launch micro ATMs in October 2015.
Users can swipe their cards at a merchant’s Point of Sale (PoS) counters and these machine connect to a bank’s secured server to debit the amount from the user. Bank officials or merchants will be present on the spot to disperse the debited amount to the user.
Common server for micro ATMs
Last month an ET report said that the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) was in discussion with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to build a common back-end server for hosting transaction taking place via micro ATMs. Withdrawals and deposits would however be based on Aadhaar biometric authentication. This was aimed at reducing failed card transaction due to the multitude of requests jamming the current server that hosts debit/credit card transaction at PoS counters. NPCI’s chairman AP Hota had confirmed the development with ET.