Demonetization of banknotes by RBI came at a cost, but the Government was quick enough to install micro-ATMs in the country to dispense cash to the public. Even then, the queues at banks is not getting any small and most of the ATMs run out of cash within a couple of hours.
Now, State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank have partnered with Ola to allow customers to withdraw cash from POS machines, through debit cards, in Kolkata and Hyderabad only. These cabs will act as micro ATMs, and will have a bank officer along with the POS machine.
As you swipe your debit card on the machine, the offer will give you the cash you requested, capping it at Rs. 2,000. These cabs will be parked at different locations in the city, with a clear Ola cab logo to distinguish themselves from other cabs.
Pranay Jivrajka, COO at Ola, told PTI that the initial response has been tremendous and the company is exploring with other banks to expand this service to more cities with cash being dispensed on the go rather than current experiment of cars being parked at a particular busy point.
Andhra Bank has also partnered with Ola in Hyderabad to provide cash to the consumers. These cabs will be located in prominent regions in these cities, where most of the people travel to and from. This activity will continue for a week or so for now, with an extension coming soon if it proves successful.
Ola is exploring this mobile ATM option in Delhi as well, where cash crunch is severe and population is too high to expect a miracle from the Government. The existing ATMs have already dried up, as only 20% are functional and get filled up regularly.
If Ola wants to make it truly mobile, then this option must also be made to Ola cabs in all major cities and towns of the country, with the option to every passenger. Only then will the public get cash, instead of lining up at the banks.
Ola Money’s usage extended to utility bills
Ola Money could initially only be used for making Ola cab payments, shopping on a few websites, Cafe Coffee Day, GoIbibo and payment at Oyo rooms. Now the same money can be used to make mobile bill payments and utility bill payments.
Utility bills include Bengaluru’s BESCOM, BSES Yamuna, Delhi’s Rajdhani, Noida Power and Indraprastha Gas, Mumbai’s Mahanagar Gas & Reliance Energy, Maharashtra’s Mahavitaran and Rajasthan Vidhyut Vitran Nigam among others.
25 more points of payment have been added to the existing list. This means that other than Paytm, Freecharge and MobiKwik, Ola Money can also be used for these services. It is important to note that Ola Money is one of the few digital wallets that spun off from a cab-aggregator service.
Now for folks that rely on Ola Money, you can use it at more merchants than before. Even now, Paytm and other services are not threatened because their footprint is huge, and their focus is on payments bank service, rather than acquisition of more merchants.