Interoperable banking agents, devices for last mile CICO transactions
Typically, the last mile population is overlooked when enabling financial services through digitisation. Since literacy may be low, access to the formal banking system can seem intimidating to many. They may get lost trying to navigate the complexities of modern day banking such as doing online bank transfers or even checking their balance. Moreover, many local businesses need physical cash - they do not see much value in digital payments. The old adage reads: Banks cannot go to every village, it is simply not possible.
Well, banks may not be able to go to villages, but - through the Digital Public Infrastructure approach - banking can.
One of the key aspects of financial inclusion and integrating people into the formal economy is ensuring the last mile population has access to bank accounts. However, if they don’t know how to use it, very often these bank accounts remain idle, and if any benefits are transferred to the account, they remain unreachable for the masses.
The cash in - cash out DPI helps solve for last mile access to formal banking services.
The cash in - cash out system equips select human beings to function as ‘micro-ATMs’. This means that they travel to remote areas of the country where individuals can conduct transactions through their bank accounts using the person as a ‘micro-ATM’. The individuals get immediate access to their money while remaining in the formal financial system.
Cash In: is about securely transferring benefits to end beneficiary by removing intermediaries and remove friction and cost.
Cash Out: is for providing access to physical cash at the last mile to use the direct cash benefits payouts.
The cash in - cash out system is based on a unique national identity system. Basically, the chosen people who are acting as these ‘micro-ATMs’ travel to the last mile populations, carrying a certain amount of money with them along with an authentication device. Any individual can simply provide their bank account name as well as their national identity number and biometrics to authenticate that information. Using this, the micro-ATM can pull up their bank information on their device.
On the backend, a financial address mapper links every unique national identity number to an individual’s bank accounts. Once the bank name is provided by the individual, it can accurately connect to bank servers, find the match, and pull up that data for the individual to use.
Now once again, by providing authentication through their biometrics, individuals can:
Withdraw cash (remember, the Micro-ATM is carrying money with them)
Transfer money using only another person’s national ID number (no bank account details necessary)
Check bank balance
Generate a mini-statement
All these facilities are available at no additional cost to the end-users.
While the micro-ATMs are essentially agents of one particular bank (and receive their salary from them), they cater to customers of banks across the country without discrimination.
The benefit to the banks is that it allows expansion of the society into the formal financial sector who can avail a variety of services which would have otherwise not been possible.
Financial inclusion: it caters to the underserved sections of society while elevating them to the next level by providing them with access and empowerment through formal finance.
Interoperability: it allows for diverse banks to access the last mile population and enable national identity based transactions through a central switch and clearing agency.
Privacy and security: the method of authentication using biometrics is inherently safe as it cannot be forged or duplicated by the micro-ATMs. The privacy of individuals is ensured by not revealing any sensitive information and only enabling basic banking transactions through this facility.