India’s largest IT-ITeS company, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), is all set to launch its smart card solution that would enable banks to reach the remote areas and address their need for microfinancing.
To begin with, the Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Bank of India (BoI) have come forward to implement the solution on a pilot basis. While PNB intends to apply it in three locations spread across Punjab, Gujarat and Delhi, BoI is planning to enforce it in Maharashtra.
“We are expecting to start the pilot projects in a couple of weeks,” M Vidyasagar, executive vice-president, Advanced Technology, TCS, told Business Standard, adding that banks were in the process of finalising the locations.
According to Vidyasagar, TCS’ solution is aimed at tapping the potential of microfinance and extending a broader range of financial services to the people in rural areas. “This will help the banks in achieving financial inclusion in the long-run,” he said.
TCS Smart Card Group head, Shyam Rao, said the State Bank of India had also shown an interest in implementing the solution on a pilot basis in Andhra Pradesh.
The smart card technology will enable banks to provide a multi-application smart card to the account holders, according to Rao.
The card stores the necessary customer information including demographic details and financial applications such as loans, deposits and insurance.
It also contains secure identification and authentication, and can be integrated with the core banking system for automatic account update and fraud control. Both fingerprint and PIN are provided for user authentication.
TCS has also designed a hand-held terminal, which is called Point of Sale (POS) terminal. These terminals will have the ability to operate in both offline and online environments.
They function like automatic teller machines, but with a difference. Unlike the normal ATMs, which can be used by any account holder, the POS terminals can be operated only by an authorised agent of the bank concerned.
According to the TCS model, banks have to appoint agents who can carry POS terminals to the remote areas to conduct banking transactions.