India is taking a leading step in helping the citizens go cashless. The NPCI (National Payments Corporation India), alongside RBI, is working relentlessly towards turning around the fate of the country and making it a cashless economy in the near future.
One of the most useful services that NPCI brought into action is called micro or mini ATM machines. In this article, you will get an insight into the proper utilization of this tech evolution for boosting the cashless economy of this nation.
The micro or mini ATM machine is a special kind of ATM that helps businesses in various ways. These machines are also known as the advanced versions of the PoS versions. These mini ATM machines are connected directly to the mobile internet using GPRS. Hence, core banking functions are taken into consideration for performing various functionalities.
Micro or mini ATMs offer many services such as cash withdrawal, cash deposit, fund transfer, and account opening. Everyone has the flexibility to use all of these services using either debit cards or AEPS (Aadhar Enabled Payment System), developed by NPCI. With AEPS by NPCI, people can use these banking services through fingerprint scanning.
By 2020, there were only 3.56 lakhs of micro ATMs in India. But, in 2021, the figure rose to around 5.9 lakhs and reached 14.19 lakhs by the end of 2022. As 2022 was highly dominated by the digital revolution, the adaptation of micro or mini ATMs also increased gradually.
People often consider micro ATMs as a fairly new concept, but instead, it has been here in the nation for a very long time. The rural and semi-urban areas preferred such transactions from micro ATMs. It is an important inclusion in areas where full-fledged ATMs cannot easily be installed. Most banks and financial services are now offering their mini ATMs for rendering the usual banking services across all parts of the nation.
When the banks cannot set foot in those areas, the mini ATM will help equip them with the necessary services.
ATM or Automated Teller Machine is one of the most popular electronic banking devices. It allows consumers to make financial transactions at ease, without the need to rush out to banks at all times. Almost all of the banking features are now available through ATMs. They were already a technological revolution for easing the financial flexibility of people.
The usual ATMs allow you to withdraw cash, deposit funds, transfer money, check your balance, and get other such account information. And all of it was made possible without any banking staff. Everyone who holds a credit or debit card will have the liberty to access cash from any of these ATMs.
But there were certain scenarios where the usual ATMs couldn’t fit for deployment, such as in rural or semi-urban areas. Therefore, mini ATM machines were introduced, similar to the PoS machines. The only difference is that you will be getting cash upon using your card in such PoS machines. The business correspondent will be responsible for dispersing the cash to you. In addition to that, you won’t have to pay any service charge for using the micro ATMs.
Some of the reasons that make micro-ATMs more demanding and popular for the forthcoming financial future are:
1. They have a great reach and added flexibility to offer portability and ease of use for the people of India to avail banking access. Apart from offering services to the rural regions, these micro-ATMs are also helpful in some of the high-cash economies of India, where the physical machines are fewer.
2. It is an extremely low-cost and accessible alternative to physical ATMs. PoS devices are quite easy to install and can be offered by almost all business respondents.
3. It adds a stream of revenue for the business correspondents. For every transaction made via the correspondents, there is a commission that will be processed to their respective accounts. The commission depends on the banks or financial distributors.
The functioning and working of the micro ATM machine are not that hard for anyone to understand. Every bank will appoint a team of business correspondents to run these micro or mini machines. The government of India has specified that micro ATMs are devices that will be used by several business correspondents for delivering basic banking services to people for promoting instant transactions.
Micro ATMs can also be implemented at local shops as well, which allows the government to reach out to the last-mile destinations of India. Unlike usual ATMs, the money deducted from your account won’t be going to the bank but to the account of business correspondents.
Whenever someone swipes a card in PoS machines at a business correspondent of a mini ATM machine, the transaction will be authenticated and sent to NPCI. After verification, the amount will be transferred to the business correspondent’s account, which will be connected to a specific system. The correspondent will then pay you the cash in return for the transaction!
The mini or micro ATM machines being introduced in India have brought ample perks for the citizens. Some of its benefits of it include:
1. Micro ATMs will have the potential to offer financial services to people living in remote or rural areas.
2. It also offers a door-to-door banking facility. PoS is a portable banking device that allows business correspondents to offer mobility for facilitating doorstep financial services.
3. Micro or mini ATM machines are made up of an easy algorithm, which makes it pretty easy for both correspondents and the people availing of its services.
4. In comparison with the usual ATM machines, the mini ATMs aren’t demanding any operational costs. Moreover, there are no maintenance costs involved in the process. There is no need for banks to pay salaries to security guards, electricity bills, and rent for the place.
5. Setting up mini ATM machines gives rise to employment in rural areas. Shopkeepers, retired banking employees, or other such correspondents can be part of it upon getting approval from the bank.
6. There’s a possibility that there will be more micro ATMs around the cities of India than physical ATMs. In this way, people facing a cash crunch won’t have to drive a long way to physical ATMs. They can just look out for nearby mini ATM business correspondents to get their immediate cash.
7. All micro-ATMs are UIDAI compliant and monitored by NPCI and RBI to enable secure transactions.
8. Micro or mini ATM machines are considered interoperable devices that can possibly work for almost any bank.
Now, you might be wondering how effective an ATM is in comparison with mini ATM machines. Almost all of the services that were possible with the usual physical ATM can be mostly executed through micro ATMs. For your insight, here are a few of the applications associated with mini or micro ATM machines:
Opening an Account
The business correspondent will help you with completing the digital account opening process.
All forms of card transactions are allowed through the mini ATM machine or PoS device.
Fingerprint or iris scanning methods will be used in order to process the transaction requests at mini ATMs.
You can seek the linking of your Aadhar Card with any of your other Personal Identification Cards or benefits cards.
In case of opening a bank account or updating Aadhar details, you can enter the biometric data through connected machines, available with the business correspondents.
You can deposit or withdraw cash at mini ATMs, just as you did over traditional physical ATMs.
You can easily transfer funds to anyone by entering their account number and other basic details.
Balance Enquiry/Mini Statement
You can check your available balance or get a mini statement for your last few transactions.
As per the current trends associated with micro or mini-ATM machines, it will thrive in the long run. Its usage will eventually expand as more and more businesses will try to add it as their additional revenue stream and get good returns by offering financial services. People who have their stores or business centers in remote or specific areas that don’t have physical ATMs nearby will make immense profits out of it.
And with such an adaptation, the rate of micro or mini ATMs will soon increase and will become dominant over the physical ATMs in most aspects.
FidyPay is an AEPS Micro ATM service provider in India that enables clients to perform functions like AEPS Cash Withdrawal, Mini Statement, and Balance Enquiry from their Merchant Network. Since our AEPS is compatible with several biometric devices, you won’t need to invest much upfront.
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