Every time a bank launches a biometric ATM of late, its primary comment is on achieving financial inclusion. The voice-enabled, fingerprint-reading machines, along with other advances such as smart cards, are expected to help banks reach out to the unlettered, unbanked masses.
Biometric ATMs cut the hidden costs of managing ATM cards and overall operational costs. Very promising, but not enough. The first point of contact is elsewhere—acquiring that marginal farmer still calls for a person to walk into the field to take him or her into the banking fold. This stage in the life cycle of the “customer” is still the big hurdle.
Despite all RBI directives, the business correspondent scheme is a non-starter, a key cause being unattractive, low commissions. Can’t banks build in potential cost savings from use of technologies such as this one to allow for a higher commission in their business models?