PayPoint facilitates government's relief package during Covid-19 lockdown

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on April 10, 2020

PayPoint India, a technology-enabled distribution network of financial services, has extended its services to enable the transaction of government's relief package to the poor who are worst-affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The company's micro-ATM, both Adhaar and swipe-based, installed at neighbourhood shops, ensure easy cash withdrawal of the direct benefit transfer (DBT) during such a crisis, as per the company’s official release.

Last month, the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a relief package of ₹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 claimed that it enabled ration stores to act as ATMs to withdraw, transfer money and deposit cash from the remotest part of the country.

The company mentioned that 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.

Paypoint mentioned that 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.

The company stated that its online-to-offline (O2O) network comes into the picture when the low acceptance of digital payments is a challenge in rural areas.

Ketan Doshi, Managing Director of PayPoint India, said in the official release: "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 that 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.

“I would also like to highlight that every PayPoint outlet abides by the government's mandated safety protocols and appropriate hygiene," he further stated.

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.

Published on April 10, 2020

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