PayPoint India, a last-mile distribution network of Financial services, enables a hassle-free transaction of government’s relief package to the poor who are hit hard by coronavirus outbreak. The company’s micro-ATM, both Adhaar and swipe-based, installed at neighborhood shops ensure easy cash withdrawal of the direct benefit transfer (DBT) during such a crisis.
Last month, the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a relief package of INR 1.70 lakh crore in the form DBT for the underprivileged and vulnerable section of the society to help them deal with the hardships caused by the Covid- 19 lockdown. However, the scheme is facing operational and logistical hurdles due to low banking touchpoints in rural locations and restrictions imposed by local area authorities during the lockdown, despite the banking services being classified as essential by the government.
PayPoint service essentially enables neighborhood stores to act as ATMs to withdraw, transfer money and deposit cash from the remotest part of the country. Account-holders can collect their entitlements through micro-ATM (Aadhaar Enabled Payment System), a handheld machine given to banking correspondents of PayPoint India. These handheld machines are connected to all the banks that allow targeted beneficiaries to access their accounts from anywhere.
Additionally, the company’s digitally-connected network of more than 42,000 offline-stores offers various other financial services, such as banking access points that support ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana’ (PMJDY) accounts, Wallets (Paypointz), Remittances, Bill payments, insurance, Merchant QR and many more.
During a national crisis, when financial avenues are limited, banking touchpoints become crucial. While the Finance Minister has announced cash-transfer to underprivileged citizens, the nationwide lockdown combined with a lack of sufficient banking outlets in rural India is defeating the purpose, thereby posing a considerable threat to the livelihood of a lot of Indians. This is where PayPoint’s online-to-offline (O2O) network comes into the picture when the low acceptance of digital payments is a challenge in rural areas. Company’s retailer-driven assisted model helps customers with low-digital literacy make an informed decision to avail services from the trusted Business Correspondents.
Ketan Doshi, Managing Director of PayPoint India, said, “Our country-wide network of micro-ATMs, installed at grocery shops or mom-and-pop stores, plays an important role in deep interiors. Residents will no longer have to walk long distances to get hold of hard cash. Furthermore, It also helps shop owners avoid the hassle of storing cash or making multiple trips to the banks to deposit their extra cash. It is crucial for micro-ATM penetration in all villages in the country, as most of these areas are the high-cash economy.”
Commenting on the hurdles banking correspondents are facing during the lockdown, Ketan added, “When banking services being classified as essential by the government, it is of paramount importance that all the Customer Service Points remain functional to ease the direct transfer of such handouts through Aadhaar-linked bank accounts. Having said that, I would also like to highlight that every PayPoint outlet abides by the government’s mandated safety protocols and appropriate hygiene.”
With increased impetus by the government on DBT for transferring the government schemes to the citizens, micro-ATM is one of the effective ways to drive the financial inclusion mandate of the government while curbing infrastructure costs, especially in rural areas. It can cater to millions of people who are neglected by banks.