The State Bank of India (SBI) has started deploying mobile point-of-sale (mPoS) service across the city to ease the cash crunch among the government departments and public sector units (PSUs) from Tuesday.
Companies like Hindustan Petroleum Corp. Ltd (HPCL), Bharat Petroleum Corp. Ltd (BPCL), NTPC Ltd, NMDC Ltd, Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) have been covered in the last two days and there are plans to expand it further to other corporates as well, based on requests.
“More than 200 PoS machines have been going around since Tuesday. These machines will remain in operation as long as we believe that the ATM operations have not been restored to normalcy and do not see customers queuing up to withdraw cash,” said Manju Agarwal, deputy managing director, corporate strategy and new business, SBI. “PoS machines have been deployed to serve the purpose of ATMs. The PoS machine is operated by a person physically who provides cash to the customers from his bag or van, whereas in an ATM the cash is stored in the machine itself and guided too.”
These PoS machines are being sent to government companies and corporates in a van along with the officials, who are carrying out the transactions for the people, she added.
“We have done it for HPCL and BPCL on Tuesday. On Wednesday, we have covered NTPC, SAIL, NMDC, BHEL and GAIL. These maharatnas and navaratnas made a demand on us and we sent our PoS machines to ensure that they are not subjected to any inconvenience. If big companies or corporates makes such a demand, we are ready to cater to it. PoS machines will reach them in half an hour as we are well equipped to handle the demand,” she assured. “There is limit of Rs2,000 for withdrawal from the PoS machine whereas the limit is Rs2,500 for an ATM. There is not much difference in amount but the queuing up is shorter here and once the PoS machine goes to the corporates, only the employees there can withdraw cash. It is a form of personal services and caters to their requirement only.”
The initiative comes at a time when long queues outside banks and ATMs are still a common sight as people try to withdraw cash for day-to-day requirements.
“Now recalibration is being managed centrally by Reserve Bank of India (RBI), it decides on which ATMs in which geography are to be recalibrated. For recalibration, it has to be visited by cash agencies which replenish cash in the ATM, original equipment manufacturer and the private person who manages the switch for the bank,” said Agarwal.
The situation is expected to normalize in another two weeks when the recalibration of ATMs is expected to be completed, she added.
“We have experienced more than 10-12 lakh transactions daily in the last one week as compared to 3.5 lakh transaction before demonetization announcement on our PoS machines across the country for purchases. There has been a 240% surge in debit card expense on e-commerce transactions when SBI debit cards are used on PoS machines of other banks,” she added.