Monday, January 03, 2011

Banking in India

Banks worldwide adopted Internet early on, but seem to be stuck with late 90's technology and perspective. Banking in India is an interesting exercise. I am told that they ask for a lot of information when you apply for an account. It takes several days and you get called by many employees of the bank meanwhile who seem to be verifying things, but every one seems to have access to your entire file. Then, you try to set up the Internet account, or try to access it. They have zeal for security: they have an on-screen keyboard that is rearranged arbitrarily each time, so it takes time to figure out what to tap; in addition, they time out very rapidly (think in the order of a few TCP roundtrip delay times!); so you scurry like a mouse that gets trained instantly and is sent down the maze that morphs each time. Then there is the ATM experience. There is a security guard near the ATM, one takes off their shoes before entering, and the ATM times off rapidly and I had to on average enter my password twice. Finally, here is a Koan with a wink from Soumen: Why do ATMs only disburse crisp new currency notes? (somebody must print a lot of currency!).

ps: Here is a discussion on innovation in banking in India from micro pensions to biometric ATMs and banking for the unbanked.


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