Branchless Banking is one of the most significant service models in aiding Financial Inclusion.
iMFAST implements the Branchless banking concept and resolves the need for Banks and financial institutions to reach out to the unconnected masses without setting up expensive physical branches.
People in these areas have traditionally been discouraged access to formal financial services due to several factors that include as follows:
- Distance between location and nearest bank branch makes it financially unviable to do small value transactions
- Only small value transactions can be enabled due to socio-economic conditions, people are largely illiterate, poor
- Small value transactions make it financially unviable to set up physical branches
- Lack of financial literacy and ability to communicate with professional staff
- Lack of connectivity
- Lack of trust in formal financial services due to past experiences with MFIs, loan brokers
These issues have resulted in financial exclusion of large populations that could otherwise could be financially included to enable the development of local economies.
Integra has pioneered the concept and implementation of Field Agent (Business Correspondent) based Field Agent management, Hardware (MicroATM, POS) terminals and a host of backend technologies to facilitate end to end working of the system, that are further integrated with the Banks.
The Field Agent is a person from the local community, who is well known to her locality members, and is reasonably educated. The Agent is engaged on behalf of the Bank/ Financial Institution to spread awareness of financial services, enrol people to open accounts, and enable financial transactions amongst the locality members, well known to the local populace / community; enable financial transactions amongst the people of the local community.
The MicroATM devices are designed to work in good/ poor mobile connectivity scenarios, where it can communicate transactions to the backend systems immediately, or securely store transactions locally on smart cards and transmit the same to the backend systems whenever connectivity is available.
The Agent is given an account with the nearest bank branch, and is the liaison between the bank and the people of his location. The agent handles cash during transactions and is required to settle it with the nearest bank branch, periodically. This cash-in-hand is centrally (remotely) managed and defines the credit worthiness of the field agent, thereby activating the hand held terminal to perform transactions.