FSS (Financial Software and Systems), a provider of integrated payment products and a payments processor, and CSB Bank, one of the oldest private sector banks in India, have joined forces to deliver hyperlocal banking services to financially underserved segments. Under the aegis of this partnership, CSB Bank and FSS plan to open 1,000 Smart Cash franchisees in semi-urban and rural areas across India to expand financial services adoption among underserved segments.
Modeled on a Branch-in-a-Box service concept, Smart Cash franchisees, equipped with a kiosk or a Micro-ATM device, states to offer affordable banking, investment, credit, and insurance products to target segments. The Smart Cash franchisees would function as a one-stop-shop for products offered by CSB Bank as well as third-party partner products utility payments and domestic money transfers improving the commercial viability of the service for Smart Cash franchisees.
Powered by FSS eFinclusiv (AePS) at the backend, Smart Cash franchisees state to extend interoperable banking services to customers of any bank. Customers, irrespective of the bank they hold an account, can walk into any Smart Cash franchisee to access services – using biometric verification and a social ID card (Aadhaar) linked to a bank account or through a debit card and associate PIN.
Commenting on the partnership, Narendra Dixit, Head Retail Banking, CSB Bank said; “An approximate 800M Indians primarily live in a cash economy, and equitable access to digital financial services can bring prodigious benefits to people, businesses, and the economy. Our vision is to build a universally available ecosystem for digital transactions to strengthen the financial capability of target segments. Our partnership with FSS provides us the right technology foundation to rapidly scale quality access, bring relevant products to the market and create more convenience for the customer.”
Speaking on the collaboration, V Balasubramanian, President FSS, stated; “For three decades, FSS has been at the forefront of India’s digital revolution by developing enabling payments infrastructure that connects people to financial services at scale. Even as account ownership is now universal in India, progress on savings, credit, and insurance is slow, limiting the usefulness of these accounts. We are delighted to partner with CSB Bank to further scale access to mainstream financial tools and products, empowering underbanked consumers to enjoy the benefits of India’s modernizing digital economy.”
The service is powered by FSS eFinclusiv (AePS) platform that processes transactions originating at Smart Cash franchisees. The platform is hosted on FSSNeT, FSS secure private cloud, with FSS assuming responsibility for service uptime, terminal management and monitoring, service upgrades, security, and compliance with regulatory mandates. An As-a-Service model provides a cost-efficient pathway to CSB Bank is said to rapidly scale and bring new innovations to the market by eliminating capital expense associated with in-house technology models.