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Open Bank account from your nearest Grocery shop – operate from mobile

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This is really interesting – State Bank of India has announced that it will soon offer no-frills bank account for needy – which will be used only through mobile phone.

According to this article in telegraph, this project is only for people who earn less than 5000 rupees a month and own a mobile phone (but don’t have a bank account)

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The best part is that, you don’t need to go to a bank to open this account – Just approach your nearest grocery store or a phone recharge store, fill up the form and your account will be operational soon.

The Grocer (who will server as business correspondent) will then help customer to do everything from depositing cash, withdrawal, checking account balance through customers mobile phone.

Eko is a national-level business correspondent, which the SBI has enrolled for its financial inclusion project.

“The biggest use of the phone for the customer is for remittance or sending money home — from say Delhi to his village in Jharkhand — without taking the trouble of visiting a bank branch or writing cheques and getting demand drafts made,”

The SBI plans to hire at least 40,000 business correspondents over the next few years. At present, the SBI has tied up with 10 national-level business correspondent organizations. [source]

I think this is what India really needs !

  1. Anand Raman says

    Arun,

    If you are based in Delhi or visiting, do get in touch. You can also see Eko in action first hand. A couple of corrections:

    1. The customer gets 3.5% interest on the account – on whatever amount
    2. At present the minimum balance required is nil.
    3. There is no restriction that the customer must earn below Rs 5000

  2. Vishal Sanjay says

    This is a nice step, most people below the poverty level waste their savings by keeping it with them, they won’t be able to create an account as they won’t be able to provide the initial deposit, this is really helpful to all. I just want to know that how are the grocers and the mobile recharge shop owners going to benefit from this and another challenge the government would face is to educate people about this. In the past there have been have been many such initiatives which have failed because the lower class has no idea about such things.

    1. Charles Thomson says

      Vijay

      On my last visit to Delhi in Sept 09 I was fortunate enough to see the Eko project first hand. I noted that there were no fees or charges and if the balance is over Rs500 the customer earns interest. So it really is a genuine project for the poor. The retailer receives a commission. There are some really good video clips about both customers and retailers on Youtube under ‘Eko Financial Services’. It is also my understanding that customer can open and maintain the account even if they do not themselves have a mobile phone.
      The simplicity and brilliance of the program is simply awesome. Normally banks will always focus on those with the most funds and make it incredibly difficult for those with the least funds. The account works exactly the other way around. Charles Thomson (Sydney)

      1. Arun Prabhudesai says

        Thank you for the heads up Charles…Its always great to hear it from someone who had seen things first hand…

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