SBI launches smartcards for Mother Dairy

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Aug 27, 2014

To tide over the growing ‘small change’ problem and making grocery shopping easier, dairy products major Mother Dairy and State Bank of India (SBI) on Wednesday launched the ‘SmartChange Card’ for Mother Dairy booths in the National Capital Region (NCR).

The card has already been rolled out in 76 booths and Mother Dairy plans to expand coverage to 150 booths in 15 days.

Complete coverage All 1,500 booths and Safal outlets will be covered by December, said a company representative at the launch event here.

S Nagarajan, Managing Director, Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Pvt Ltd said, “We realised that we had the dual problem of tendering the exact change to customers and there were hassles regarding the same for the worker at the booth due to usage of coins,” adding that customers in Safal outlets, which sell fruits and vegetables, will now be able to use the card facility in a week or 10 days.

The card, priced at ₹25 at the time of issuance, will have a top-up limit of ₹1,000 while the limit per transaction has been set at ₹500.

There is ₹10 monthly fee to ensure continued ease of access to buy milk and other dairy products.

The process will be similar to the use of a Metro rail card where one places the card on the turnstile machine to use the facility.

In this case, the concessionaire (booth operator) is provided with a machine that reads the card details and accepts the payment. “We will roll out the technology, once the experience in the NCR region is successful, to other centres such as Hyderabad, Mumbai and Chennai,” said SK Mishra, Managing Director (Corporate Strategy & New Business), SBI.

NFC tech expansion The country’s largest public sector bank is also exploring expanding ‘Near Field Communication’ (NFC) technology and the usage of Point-Of-Sale (PoS) terminals. NFC technology refers to short-range wireless connectivity that enables two-way interaction between electronic devices and allows users to perform transactions by connecting to other NFC-enabled devices with a single touch.

“The usage of NFC technology is what we’re in talks with other players. It’s contact-less and convenient, and can be used for transit as a travel card as also in a kirana store,” said Mishra on the sidelines of the event.

The use of NFC technology has picked up in countries such as Australia, Singapore and Taiwan, particularly in the travel card format.

An SBI official said the move towards a cashless society was underway and SBI was looking to expand the coverage of NFC-enabled PoS terminals to small and big players, including the Railways.

“We have have already provided 1,52,000 terminals (non-NFC). We started two years ago and will add 1,00,000 more terminals this year,” said Mishra, adding that talks were on with Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai Metro authorities. Similar terminals are likely to be installed in New Delhi soon.

Published on August 27, 2014
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