Bharat Financial Inclusion Ltd (earlier known as ‘SKS Microfinance Ltd’) on Wednesday said it is planning to rollout 2 lakh Kirana Points across its network in 16 states of India, in partnership with leading banks.

With the introduction of Kirana Points, the microfinance company’s borrowers can now walk into the nearest kirana/ merchant store to make basic financial transactions like repaying loan, deposit into savings account, withdraw from savings account and remit money to other accounts and make bill payments like mobile recharge, the company said in a statement.

As a Banking Correspondent partner, Bharat Financial Inclusion said it will appoint agents to set up Customer Service Points (Kirana Points). “Existing kirana stores/cloth stores and other such merchants from local villages fit in the profile of a Kirana Points. These merchants are from the existing borrower family of Bharat Financial Inclusion Limited, who have availed microfinance from the company to set up or expand business,” it said.

The company claimed that with this innovation it has become the first entity in India to launch 100 per cent digital financial inclusion. M R Rao, CEO and Managing Director, said “Kirana Points will eliminate, for rural borrowers, the past insurmountable obstacles like PINs, and usher in the most convenient cash-in, cash-out points featuring biometric authentication and friendly neighbourhood guide.”

The company said the tailor-made innovation for rural borrowers is based on extensive research among potential users, and is ready for ramp up across the country in view of its increasing acceptance among borrowers in Humnabad, Karnataka, where a Kirana Point pilot has been running in partnership with a bank.