More Automation in Banking

Adding zing to the debit card

The debit cards versus credit cards war has intensified with IDBI Bank launching its Magic Card for salary account holders. This debit card can also be used as a credit card if you need cash, but at a much lower interest rate than regular credit cards. You can get ready cash of up to three times your salary, in addition to the balance in your account.

Of course, the overdraft facility itself is old news – there are plenty of debit cards offering this today. However, not only do these cards charge about the same interest as credit cards, the overdraft limit is usually lower. IDBI bank has nicely upped the game.

Speedier approvals

When instant culture has taken over everything from coffee to the way we communicate, why should banking remain impervious? Axis bank has recently unveiled an instant car loan facility in 50 cities and towns and 200 dealers  have been tapped so far. But, don’t expect to walk into a dealership, sign some papers and drive out. We are talking about in-principle approvals here, the disbursement of loans will still take two or three working days. What has changed is that you will know, upfront whether you are eligible for that car loan since Axis Bank promises credit checks in real time at its branches as well as the show rooms on its list. Once you have the in-principle approvals, the paper work gets speeded up.

Axis bank saves customers the trouble of chasing banks and trying to figure out their credit worthiness while the pre-approved loans are offered to select customers based on their relationship with the bank and credit score.

A similar in-principle approval facility has been unveiled by Standard Chartered Bank to quicken the process of landing a credit card. The approval is granted on the back of a net based real time engine, which instantly checks a customer’s credit rating through the Credit Bureau and tallies his background information against the bank’s internal checklist. As a result, an interested applicant will know within seconds if he is likely to get the plastic money of his choice or not. As with Axis bank’s loan offering this instant approval does not mean that the regular paperwork and due diligence will be dispensed with, but the process speeds up to under 48 hours. The bank claims that about 20,000 customers have availed this facility since its launch in end-September.

More Muscle to ATMs

Induslnd Bank has introduced a facility at all its ATM, that lets you choose currency denomination between Rupees 100, Rupees 500, and Rupees 1,000. So, say you need to with draw Rupees 2000 you can choose to take 10 Rs 100 notes and one pink one. This facility is not restricted to the bank’s cardholders. Any VISA /Master card /NFS card owner can utilize it.

ATMs no longer merely mean ‘Any Time Money’ they are also a place for any time phone recharge, bill payment and the likes. At Axis Bank ATMs, you can now expect any time ATM PIN generation. No longer do you have to wait for days for the bank to courier across a secured PIN when you need a duplicate one, or have forgotten your old one. Customers just need to call a toll free number now where their credentials get verified and a password is generated. This password can be entered at the ATM to generate a PIN.

Round the clock lockers:

With ATMs mushrooming and Net banking gaining steam one can excuse the 8 am to 8 pm branch timings,  but those with lockers have long felt the pinch. To fix this problem, IDBI Bank and Standard Chartered Bank have recently introduced a 24X7 locker facility at two of their branches in Mumbai. However, the advantages of this do not come cheap: The cost of a 24X7 locker at IDBI Bank, which also boasts of biometric access ranges between Rupees 15,000-45,000 depending on the size, while Standard Chartered  Bank refused to share its figures. In contrast, regular lockers at bank branches that have fixed timings costs Rs1, 000 – 3,000.

In an attempt to do away with queues and introduce paperless banking, State Bank of India is unveiling green channel counters at its branches. At these counters, instead of a harassed bank executive you get a handheld swipe machine – much like the ones that retailers use to swipe your credit card on after every purchase. This device is linked to a computer and can be handled by customers themselves for depositing / withdrawing cash and fund transfers. This dispenses with pay-in slips and withdrawal forms. From the bank’s perspective this is an attempt to encourage more technology based transactions.