Taking the no-frills mini savings account the mobile way, the State Bank of India and Eko Aspire Foundation plan to roll out the project across Mumbai and Punjab within two months.
Eko has launched the project on pilot basis with SBI at Uttam Nagar in Delhi in February and thereafter it was taken to four districts of Bihar where it has evoked enthusiastic response.
"The project aims to give a new dimension to financial inclusion as it targets customers like small business owners, vegetable vendors and students who earn less than Rs 5,000 a month. The mobile transactions enable mini savings bank account holders to deposit, withdraw, remit and check balances - all just by clicking a few buttons on the mobile phone," said Eko Aspire Foundation Chairman Abhishek Sinha.
Typically, a customer's mobile phone number forms the account number and they are given simple to use PINs.
For example, a taxi driver in Delhi can remit money to his family from his mini savings bank account using his mobile phone within seconds and without taking the trouble of visiting a bank branch or writing cheques and getting demand drafts made.
Over 5,000 have been enrolled for SBI's Mini Savings Bank Account. There have been instances of intra-city remittances. There have been customers who have been using their SBI Mini Savings Bank Account to send money to their co-workers, family and friends within Delhi. Some customers use it for remotely carrying out recharges.
"We are now operational in Delhi and Sitamarhi, Sheohar, Madhubani and Samastipur districts of Bihar, through a wide network of 200 plus SBI Eko Counters. We plan to increase coverage to the rest of Bihar soon. We feel very privileged to be associated with India's largest public sector bank, State Bank of India in this noble initiative already positively impacting lives of 5000 plus customers." added Abhishek Sinha.
Eko is based on the fundamental premise of giving everyone, in particular the 'unbanked' a bank account. Eko will train and appoint Kirana / Medical / Fair price shops as Business Correspondent who will act like bank extension counters. This means that customers can avail of banking services including opening of account, remittances, deposits and withdrawals at a SBI Eko Counter in their neighbourhood by simply using a mobile phone. More financial products including micro-insurance, mutual funds, various loans and savings products will soon be introduced.
Customers open simple no frills savings accounts called SBI Mini Savings Bank accounts that can be operated with Zero Minimum Balance.
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