India Posts can now issue ATM Debit Cards to its saving account holders, and allow them to have bank statements from ATM machines, just like any bank holder in a private or national bank does. This has been termed as a huge step towards bringing India Posts closer to transforming into a full-fledged banking service.
The Government of India issued a gazette notification, which in effect amends the Post Office Savings Bank General Rules, 1981 and allows some specific Post offices which are part of the CBS (Core Banking Solution) network to issue ATM cards for their customers.
Thus, the ATM cards can only be used in selected post offices which are electronically connected via CBS. As per the notification, “In case of an account standing at any post office with a core banking solution platform in place, the Post office Savings Bank shall issue ATM or debit card to the account holder on payment of such fee as may be prescribed by the Central Government.”
Where Can Post Office ATMs Be Used
As of now, there are 676 post offices in India which are connected via CBS; and the ATM facility has been made available at the four head Post Offices at: New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. As part of the massive IT modernization project of India Posts, Rs 4999 crore has been allocated to increase the number of CBS connected Post Offices with ATM facility to 2800 locations by the end of 2015.
Customers with ATM facility can use any other CBS enabled facility to withdraw or deposit money into their account. Hence, a Post Office Saving Account holder from Delhi can visit the Post Office with CBS facility in Mumbai or Chennai or Kolkata and use the ATM to withdraw money or deposit.
In future, plans are on to include call centers for customer support, mobile and Internet Banking along with free home delivery service in rural areas.
India Posts as Full Fledged Banking Platform
Banking experts are already claiming that once Government gives the final approval for full-fledged Post Office Banking Systems, then in terms of reach and expansion, India Posts can become Asia’s biggest banking platform. In terms of placement, India Posts is already better positioned than Japan Post Bank, which is world’s largest postal banking system with $1.7 trillion of assets and Post Savings Bank of China which has 39,707 outlets.
Recently, when Government of India decided to allocate banking licenses to IDFC and Bandhan Financial Services, it stopped short of providing the same for Post Office. Discussions are currently on regarding this step between India Posts and Government of India, and it’s being expected that a decision will be taken very soon.
We had earlier reported how Post Offices can assist Indian Ecommerce industry with their huge network of 1.5 lakh branches in every nook and corner of the country. This year, they have already collected Rs 280 crore as COD orders for Ecommerce portals, and with the current saving bank facility initiated, we can expect some major fireworks from India Posts in 2015."India Post To Issue ATM Cards & Statements For Saving Account Holders",