3 Nov
  1. http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/high-tech/our-insights/indias-tech-opportunity-transforming-work-empowering-people
  2. http://thefinanser.com/2016/11/glimpse-future-part-three-internet-things.html/ – In fact, it seems that we have two sorts of billionaires out there.  Those who want to create new solutions for the future (Musk, Bezos and Branson), and those who want to solve present problems in the future (Gates, Buffett, Zuckerberg).  Both are doing the right things, but both have different aspirations and objectives.   The former are entrepreneurial visionaries whilst the latter are philanthropic angels.  Both are to be admired I guess.
  3. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/3-held-for-4-lakh-credit-card-fraud/articleshow/55214318.cms – credit card credentials stolen through social engineering, then, from bank account – found that Rs 5,000 was transferred in M-Paisa Wallet and Rs 9,631 to TTSL Mobile Wallet.
  4. http://nkgsb-bank.com/Aboutus/KeyPersonal.html – Billava Shashidhar is IT-Dept Head
  5. http://www.xime.org/ – Xaviers Institute of Management – where Shanmugam works
  6. http://i-exceed.com/ – S Sundararajan
  7. http://fugenx.com/ – Abdul
  8. https://www.genymotion.com/ – emulator for Android development
  9. https://www.wetransfer.com/  – for large data transfers


1 Nov
  1. http://scibilitymedia.com/nokia-conducts-finlands-first-commercial-iot-trial-using-nb-iot-technology/
  2. http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/11/standard-chartered-wins-digital-award/
  3. http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/motorola-connect-coin/
  4. https://www.magzter.com/article/Computer-Mobile/Express-Computer/SBI-The-Rise-of-the-Digital-Bank
  5. https://www.kubofinanciero.com/Kubo/Portal/index.xhtml
  6. http://www.m-kopa.com/
  7. http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/employment-and-growth/connecting-talent-with-opportunity-in-the-digital-age
  8. https://www.cgap.org/publications/cash-digital-transfers-india-story-so-far
  9. http://cab.org.in/CAB%20Calling%20Content/Financial%20Inclusion%20-%20The%20Indian%20Experience%20(Special%20Issue)/Financial%20inclusion%20of%20the%20urban%20poor.pdf
  10. http://indiamicrofinance.com/financial-inclusion-urban-india.html
  11. https://www.womensworldbanking.org/
  12. http://www.womensworldbanking.org/publications/diamond-bank-storms-market-beta-way-save/
  13. http://assets.mckinsey.com/global-themes/employment-and-growth/the-power-of-parity-advancing-womens-equality-in-india
  14. http://www.uncdf.org/sites/default/files/Documents/womens_economic_participation_report_16_november_2015.pdf
  15. http://www.cgap.org/publications/financial-diaries-smallholder-families
  16. https://www.accion.org/brazil
  17. http://www.grameen-bank.net/
  18. http://www.brac.net/
  19. https://www.microlinks.org/library/mapping-pathways-out-poverty-state-microcredit-summit-campaign-report-2015
  20. http://www.pooreconomics.com/about-book
  21. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8713694-more-than-good-intentions
  22. http://mckinseyonsociety.com/inclusive-growth-and-financial-security/
  23. http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/americas/a-tale-of-two-mexicos
  24. https://docs.gatesfoundation.org/Documents/Fighting%20Poverty%20Profitably%20Full%20Report.pdf
  25. http://www.zuum.com.br/ – Brazil
  26. http://newsroom.mastercard.com/2013/07/11/zuum-in-brazil-fast-safe-and-inclusive-mobile-payments/
  27. https://www.mypaga.com/paga-web/customer – Nigeria
  28. https://www.quickteller.com/ – Nigeria
  29. http://www.hellocash.et/ – Ethiopia
  30. http://m-birr.com/ – Ethiopia
  31. https://easypaisa.com.pk/ – Pakistan
  32. https://www.oneloadpk.com/ – Pakistan
  33. https://tala.co.ke/ – Kenya – instant loans to your M-Pesa
  34. https://www.izettle.com/
  35. http://www.bridgeinternationalacademies.com/
  36. http://kickstart.org/ – low cost water pumps
  37. http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/digital-mckinsey/our-insights/disruptive-technologies
  38. http://www.xiaojukeji.com/index/index – Didi Chuxing – competition to Uber in China
  39. http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8884.html
  40. http://www.portfoliosofthepoor.com/
  41. http://mckinseyonsociety.com/inclusive-growth-and-financial-security/
  42. http://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/programme/mobile-money/new-case-study-on-paying-school-fees-with-mobile-money-in-cote-divoire
  43. http://tech.eu/brief/israeli-connected-car-platform-otonomo-raises-12-million-series-a/
  44. http://otonomo.io/
  45. http://corp.ezetap.com/


Password expires if Net Banking not used in 180 days

10 Jul

Some bank accounts will always be dormant

India has more than 60 well-known banks – some in public sector and some in private sector.  A middle-class person could have 2 or 3 bank accounts due to his career shift from one job to another.  Unless it really pinches his pocket, a person tends to retain the relationship with the bank in which he has opened an account once.    However, his main account will be the one where his salary or business income gets credited.  The Net Banking transactions in this primary account will be very frequent, whereas the Net Banking transactions in all his other accounts will be rare – may be once a year.   So, if there are 50% dormant bank accounts in this country, it is not surprising at all.  This is by design and by will.  They are meant to be dormant and to be used occasionally.

Password expires if Net Banking not used in 180 days

Some banks have very stringent Password Expiry policies. If you do not login to your account in a span of 180 days,  even if you input the correct password you will not be allowed entry into Net Banking.  ie. the bank does not allow entry if you are not a frequent user.  This policy appears quite harsh to the infrequent visitor.  The consumer has not done any mistake.  He has by choice decided to use this account once a year – maybe for an Insurance Premium payment or Renewal of Membership Fees or Muncipal Tax Payment.   But every time, you login after 6 months, the bank throws you out, almost insulting you in the process.   This can be extremely frustrating for the diligent user who has carefully remembered his password and is 100% sure that he is using the correct password.

Why should the Bank force a Login every 6 months ?

  1. What is the basis for the above rule ? Is it stipulated by RBI or Info Security Act ?
  2. What is the additional security that one gets by logging into the account every 6 months ?
  3. Why are you forcing a dummy transaction just to preserve the credentials that you have so carefully chosen ?
  4. Why don’t you let the customer decide when to change the password or when to login ?

Making it Difficult means More Security ?-  A Myth

There is a certain myth in the Net Banking guidelines followed by many banks.  Making a process more difficult means that you are adding more Security.  This may not be true in all cases.  Having special characters, numbers, upper case, lower case etc is an old style of password management. To search for a $ (US dollar) symbol in some mobile handsets could be a nightmare especially when you are in a hurry.  Instead, we can have a very long password such as “The peacock looks beautiful when it is dancing in the rain”.  However the password policy restricts this because they want us to keep a cryptic password within 15 characters only.

Do not re-use last 3 passwords – Why ?

My first two passwords were

  1. M@keItEasy4Me
  2. G0dHelpmeL0g1n

Suppose I like these passwords and I want to re-use them during my third cycle, the bank prohibits me from doing the same. These passwords are extremely personal, well-researched and have a basis.  The bank cannot decide on my passwords.  If there is a strong reason, we would like to know.

Jan Dhan Customers need Simpler Net Banking Please!

Customers who are familiar with IT concepts and computers struggle with Passwords.  It is very difficult for farmers, daily labourers, housemaids, security guards and such customers to use our current Net Banking.  Its far too complex.   We need to Simplify, Simplify, Simplify.   The value of transactions is extremely low – most of them below Rs 5000 (Rs Five Thousand only).  Hence the risk is also low.  So, we need to have a graded approach to Net Banking.   For example, the Authentication parameters could be

  1. Transaction Value Rs 10 –   Mobile Number only
  2. Transaction Value Rs 100 –  Mobile Number + MPIN
  3. Transaction Value Rs 1000 – Mobile Number + MPIN + Aadhaar OTP
  4. Transaction Value Rs 10,000 – UserId + Password + OTP
  5. Transaction Value Rs 100,000 – User Id + Password + OTP + Biometric

Amount based Authentication can protect Users and Banks

If you ask a pensioner to use Net Banking, he might hesitate in the fear that all his savings could get depleted in one stroke due to his ignorance or lack of knowledge on Net Banking and Security Practices.   However, if his Net Banking Registration comes with a Transaction Limit, he might be willing.   ie.  the Bank guarantees that the maximum value of Net Banking through this Registration is only Rs 5000.   Irrespective of the channel, irrespective of the device, irrespective of whose mistake it is, the maximum fraud possible on that account is only Rs 5000 per day.  This is a great insurance for beginners.   After using Net Banking for 6 months, he may get emboldened to move to the next level where his transaction limit can move to say Rs 50,000 per day.

Net Banking Registration – Different Flavours

  1. Instant Net Banking –  Zero Charges – Rs 1,000 limit
  2. Quick Net Banking –  Rs 100 p.a –   Rs 10,000 limit
  3. Standard Net Banking – Rs 1000 p.a – Rs 1,00,000 limit
  4. Prime Net Banking –  Rs 2000 p.a –  Rs 5,00, 000 limit

Net Banking – time to charge Annual Fees

Banks could consider charging an Annual Fees for use of different flavours of Net Banking. They need to create a Budget for introducing modern Biometric Authentication systems such as Face Recognition, Voice Recognition, Fingerprint Recognition, Cardiac Pattern Authentication, Palm Vein Authentication etc along with other parameters such as MPIN, Password, OTP, Hardware Token, Mobile Number etc.   These technologies will take 3 to 5 years to stabilize and take shape.  There is significant investment required in time and resources to deploy such systems.

Simplify, Simplify, Simpify

We need to introduce complex technology so as to simplify our lives.   All technology should be hidden under the hood, so that the outside is simple and usable.  When any product or process is simple, adoption is quick and effortless.  The marketing expense for such a product would be much less and the return of investment is faster.  Engineering students need to be taught the power of Simplicity so that they can build great products for the future.







Zero Balance Customers – treat with dignity

4 Jun

This a reflection of my 28 years of experience as a Banking customer across various banks – Central Bank of India, HDFC, ICICI, Standard Chartered Bank, State Bank of Mysore, Corporation Bank, Karnataka Bank, Punjab National Bank, Bank of India, Andhra Bank and Indian Bank and IDBI Bank.    The intent of this mail is to highlight an observation and not pass any remarks on any individual or institution.

Recently we have heard the terms, “Zero Balance Customers”,  “Jan Dhan Yojana Customers”,  “Financial Inclusion Customers”.  These are customers who have very low balance or Nil Balance in their account.   They are living on the edge of the poverty line and have irregular income from agriculture, business or any other occupation.  There are good times and bad times.  When business is flourishing, they deposit a fair sum but quickly disburse the amount to different parties to whom they owe money.   Zero Balance Customers are found in large cities and towns also, among the salaried class,  middle-class and small business owners.  Due to the cyclic nature of business, economic upheavals, job retrenchment, relocation and recession,  people tend to have zero balance in their bank accounts.  Students who have come out of engineering college struggle for nearly 2 years with barely any amount in their bank balance.   This is going to part of life for many more years and many more decades.   There is always going to be an imbalance and several millions will continue to have Zero Balance in their Bank Accounts.

The Government on its part is doing its bit to provide subsidy benefits through the Direct Debit Transfer (DBT) programs. It has made a massive effort to mobilise RBI, NPCI, Banks and all associated institutions to ensure that every Indian has a bank account and is able to transact using a Rupay card. Our Government has also facilitated Aadhaar enrollment reaching almost a billion people. In addition Atal Pension Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana are laudable steps to create social security for these customers.   The overdraft (OD) facility is a bold step to encourage use of Banking Channels.  The Mudra Loan Scheme can be a boon for small businesses.  Irrespective of the political party, these schemes are a feather in the cap for our IAS officers,  Govt Secretaries, the Ministry of Finance and the Prime Minister’s Office.

It is observed that many a time, when a Zero Balance customer visits the bank branch, he/she is not treated with the required respect and dignity.  The tone of the voice and the body language of the staff indicates that they are not interested in providing quality service to such customers.  They are often blamed for not filling up the form properly, or for not updating their passbook regularly or not completing their KYC compliance as per procedure.  Such customers do not get proper explanation why certain fees are levied and what can be done to avoid such penalties. The extent of insult and humiliation can vary from bank to bank, from region to region but clearly there is a negative approach towards customers who have Zero Balance in their accounts.   This is a deplorable situation and will make the customer feel insulted and humiliated.  This could be one of the reasons why they resort to other institutions, money lenders, family circles and friends to seek financial help when required.

Some banks are charging Rs 5 per IMPS transaction irrespective of the amount. This is very high for such customers who want to transfer an amount less than Rs 500.    Banks are requested to have a differential rate of IMPS charge –  NIL upto Rs 500,   Rs 2 upto Rs 2000,  Rs 5 for amount upto Rs 5,000 and so on.   This will encourage Zero Balance customers and Jan Dhan Yojana customers to experiment with Mobile Banking, SMS Banking, USSD Banking and start making financial transactions.   The social impact of remitting money to family members is huge.  It can ensure more equitable balance in society even during difficult times.

To summarize, people with Zero Balance need to be provided  extra-ordinary service at Banks so that they can become economically self-sufficient in the days to come.  This slight change in Customer Service will ensure that the good work done by the Government really yields positive results.




3 Mar

This is for testing only