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Banking at your fingertips, literally

Priya Nair & Yogini Joglekar / Mumbai 06 Sep 12 | 12:24 AM

When was the last time you visited a bank branch? There are chances your parents still do, either to withdraw cash or pay bills or just to have a chat with the friendly banker. But, the younger generation has little time to do so.

And, bankers are making life easier through devices like the ATM, interactive/video conference kiosks, cheque/cash deposit machines and internet banking devices. Now, customers can do a real time cash deposit into a bank account, withdraw cash, deposit cheques, transfer funds, open fixed deposits, generate bank statements, pay insurance premiums, home loan EMIs and so on.

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In most banks these devices are placed within the bank branches, but ICICI Bank recently opened standalone e-branches which provide all the basic services that branches offer. While other banks offer these services only during banking hours, in case of ICICI Bank, these e-branches can be accessed anytime during the day.

At the launch of the e-branch, Chanda Kochhar, managing director and chief executive officer, ICICI had said these branches were ideally meant for customers unable to go to the branch during working hours. But in many cases, customers who visited the branch during working hours also preferred to do their transactions at the e-branch and not go to the counter.

The ATM and cheque deposit machine are the most common devices which most banks have to offer today. ATMs of many banks today allow functions like payment of utility and credit bills, booking tickets and so on. Shyamal Saxena, general manager for retail banking, Standard Chartered Bank, India, says some customers do show concerns over the security and privacy of their banking transactions. “But, these devices are highly secured, as the person gets an acknowledgment receipt after every transaction," he says.

In addition to the ATM, some other devices that customers can use to do most of their banking transactions without going to a branch are:

You can deposit cash directly into your account through this machine and it gets credited instantly into your account, using a debit card. ICICI currently allows deposit of up to Rs 1 lakh per day. It also allows a third party to make a deposit without a card, into an ICICI Bank account. The machine can accept up to 200 notes of varying denominations at one time. It does away with the filing away of pay slips and standing in queues to deposit cash.

In the case of ICICI Bank’s machine, customers can request for cheque books, fund transfers, bank statements, access accounts and credit card-related information. It also allows video conferencing for credit card and bank account-related queries and product information. Cheque book printing, which is allowed at the Union Bank of India’s kiosks, is one of the most popular functions, says S Govindan, general manager.

“Footfalls of the youngsters and the salaried class coming into branches are decreasing every year. These kiosks are useful for older customers too, as it’s easy to operate and customers can avoid standing in queues," he says.

Other banks like Citi Bank and Vijaya Bank too, have similar interactive and internet banking kiosks at some locations. Internet banking devices allow non-internet banking customers also to access internet banking services just by using the debit card and PIN. Customers who have limited access to internet connectivity can use these kiosks.

A similar device is a video conferencing kiosk, which allows customers to talk face-to-face with bank executives and resolve your problems while conducting banking transactions. The executives help you with accounts, products or card-related queries.

Using a tablet with a 5 MP camera, ICICI Bank allows customers to open a bank account sitting at home. The bank officer can help the customer fill the application form, click the customers’ photograph and also scan his Know Your Customer (KYC) documents. Hence, no physical KYC documents are required. Once complete, the information is uploaded into the bank’s back-end systems immediately. This helps in quicker processing of the opening of the account.

Even within the branches, ICICI Bank has introduced help-on-Tab. When a customer visits the branch to deposit cash or transfer funds, the device, available with the staff at the branch, will allow him to fill in all details with the teller. This reduces the customers’ time spent at the counter.

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    10 Sep 12 at 11:20 PM
By: Sunil Kumar

Is this a educational article or advertisement of ICICI Bank???

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