Monday, July 4, 2016

Safe ePayments @ Rio Olympics 2016

          By now you must have made the planning to enjoy the best of Rio Olympics 2106. A lucky few will view the events live in Rio De Janerio, Brazil.

                    The preparations for Rio Olympics 2016 are in the last stage. Last minute fine-tuning is being done for a memorable experience for all the Participants.

          Participants at Rio Olympics 2016 are Athletes, Sports Officials, Support Staff, Volunteers, Spectator Guides, Tourists etc.

          The Games open on 5th August 2016 and go on till 21st 2016.

          The games are spread over 37 venues, with 206 participating countries in 42 Sports Disciplines further divided into 306 events.

          Rio de Janeiro has 32 venues, plus five football co-host cities: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Manaus, Salvador and São Paulo.

          Millions of financial transactions take place during the run-up to the Games and also during the games.

          The Olympics are the planet’s most prestigious and most viewed games. Countries from diverse cultures participate in the games.

          The Olympic Games offer wonderful opportunities for promoting Safe ePayment techniques.  Innovative payment technologies too can be rolled out, but on a limited scale. This is to minimise damages if any, due to failure of the innovations.

          One of the ways in which Olympic Fans can see the live action in Rio is by participating in various contests. A large number of brands across the world are running contests in which the participants have a chance to win Tickets to Rio Olympics events.

By now, majority of the contests are closed and the winners have been announced.

Highlights of various contests around the world :-

01)  Rio 2016 launches new app with competition offering chance to win tickets to opening ceremony
03)  McDonald's UK - Win a VIP trip for you and your child to Rio 2016 Olympic Games to take part in the Opening Ceremony
04)  Win a trip for 2 to see ‘Team Canada’, in Rio De Janeiro
05)  McDonald’s Sunrise Olympic Kids Program
07)  Hype 2016 RIO Sports Innovation Contest
08) Petro-Pass 2016 Rio Olympics
09)  Tap & Pay VISA
10)  Win a pair of tickets to the Rio 2016 Olympics in association with DFS
11)  Promote sustainability and win tickets to the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games
12)  Win a trip of a lifetime to Rio 2016
13)  Kelloggs Olympics offer
14)  Sainsbury's Olympics Tickets offer
15)  Barclays Olympics offer
16)  Nissan Olympics offer
17)  Road to RIO
18)  My Coke Olympics offer

The demographic profile of the visitors at the Games also attracts cybercriminals to try their luck.

This BoozeAllen document highlights the risks posed by cyber criminals during Rio Olympics.

The threats can be categorised into direct and indirect.

Direct Threats:- ATM Skimming, POS Skimming, Ransomware, Mobile Walware, Wife security

Indirect Threats:- Fraudulent lottery schemes, Fraudulent travel sites,

The experiences gained during FIFA World Cup 2014 will be beneficial for enforcement agencies to minimise cyber frauds.

The London Olympics were dubbed as the world’s first digital Olympics. Technology has rapidly changed since London Olympics,  and the cyber criminals have honed their skills.

11 Tips to safeguard yourself, your friends and your well wishers from Cyber Threats at Rio Olympics 2016.

Tip No 01) Remove all unnecessary APPS from your Mobile Phones.

Tip No 02) Download the latest Anti-virus program on your laptop and mobiles.

Tip No 03) Inform your Bank that you would be in Rio for the games and if possible, notify them to allow transactions on your ATM Card/Mobile Phones/Net Banking only if originated from the game cities.  

Tip No 04) Request for transaction limits on your Digital banking tools.

Tip No 05) Minimise updates on your social networks. Updates on social networks are a wonderful source of information for cyber criminals.

Tip No 06) Do not be GREEDY. Doubt any financial transaction which looks to be good to be true.

Tip No 07) Watch out for fake Wifi Networks, always ask at the venue the name of their WiFi Network.

Tip No 08) Evaluate Distress signals before acting on them. Especially distress signals emanating from friends saying’, I am near this ATM, please come quickly’.

Tip No 09) In the olden days, the Cybercriminals used misspelt words, used wrong grammar in their phisining attempts. Now days they have improved, so transact on sites only if you are 100 % sure.  

Tip No 10) Prefer one time usage digital cards, either credit or debit card

Tip No 11) Spread the joy of Safe ePayments to your fellow visitors

Additional Readings:
Deconstructing Cyber Security in Brazil
US Bureau of Diplomatic Security

Japan to train thousands on cyber-security ahead of 2020 Olympics

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Axis Bank is tapping the lucrative urban microfinance market

          The success of ‘Axis Sahyog ’, program in Rural Bharat has led to Axis Bank to roll out this program to the urban areas too.

The aim of ‘Axis Sahyog’, is to offer  small ticket, unsecured loans to economically active poor women.

          The End to end processing – from customer on-boarding to disbursement and servicing, is  faster, seamless and paperless.

The loans will be disbursed at the doorsteps of the borrowers, through cash, bank account or card.

Axis Sahyog is aimed at Joint Liability Group (JLG) borrowers.           

The app has the capability to reduce the TAT to 5 days from the present 12 days.
Key features of Axis Sahyog are:
  • Quick approval loans
  • Doorstep delivery
  • Collateral free loans
  • Nil Processing fees
  • Insurance for Customer and Spouse
  • Option for cash / Saving account / Card based disbursement
Besides Uttar Pradesh, the Axis Sahyog programme is hinterlands of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Karnataka andJharkhand.

Today Axis Bank unveiled this program for the urban poor at Pune,  under the Bank's flagship microfinance programme and the services will be delivered via its technology driven 'TAB based lending' solution.

As these loans will be disbursed under the Joint Liability umbrella, these loans will be collateral free.

The lender plans to commence urban microfinance operations in 85 branches across Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai, in addition to Pune. The loans disbursed to self-employed women, part of Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) are for income generating purposes like tailoring, catering, running kirana shops etc, with an average loan size of Rs 15,000. Axis Bank is currently providing small loans to around 8 lakh households with a total throughput of Rs. 1500 crores.

The bank has also introduced a first-of-its kind concept of 'Map module' under which the villages as well as customer touch points such as meeting place and individual households will be geo tagged and displayed on a map. This feature will help in tracking locations and delivering financial services on time and with accuracy.

Axis Bank is currently providing small loans to around 8 lakh households with a total throughput of Rs 1,500 crore and has a presence in states such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Karnataka, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

Under this, the loans will be disbursed to self-employed women, part of Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) small businesses like tailoring, catering and running grocery  shops with an average loan size of Rs 15,000.

According to Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN) data, a self-regulatory organization for the industry,  the loan portfolio of microfinance institutions (MFIs) stood at Rs 53,233 crore as of 31 March 2016, up from Rs 28,940 crore a year ago.

In April 2015, RBI eased rules for MFIs, raising total indebtedness limit of a borrower to Rs 1 lakh, double the previous limit of Rs 50,000. The new rules state that MFIs can disburse loans to a borrower in urban or semi-urban regions, the annual income limit has been raised to Rs 1.6 lakh from Rs 1.2 lakh.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Winners of NPCI Unified Payment Interface (UPI) Hackathon

          The winners of Unified Payment Interface (UPI) Hackathonwere announced on April11th, 2016 at the launch function of UPI in Mumbai.

          The launch function was graced by Dr. Raghuram Rajan, Governor, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) along with Mr. Nandan Nilekani, Advisor to NPCI, Mr. Balachandran M., Chairman, Mr. A P Hota, MD & CEO and Mr. Dilip Asbe, COO, NPCI in Mumbai.

          The top five winners of the UPI Hackathon are Vsoft Nerds, CPay, Fundu, Ultra Cash, Enablers.

The UPI Hackathon platform provided for start-up/developer community to accelerate innovation in payments arena in association with Indian Software Product Industry Round Table (iSPIRT).
Brief details about Vsoft Nerds:
VSoft Nerds created the Jeb app which allows you to send and receive money. "This app is available in regional languages and enables quick response (QR) code payment. We are currently in talks with banks to offer this product," said Murthy Veeraghanta, chairman and chief executive officer, VSoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

Brief details about CPay:
2 member team of Winster Jose and Venkataswamy

Brief details about Enablers:
4 member team of Amritpal Singh, Varundeep Kaur, Ankur Sharma and Govind Paul
Project Synopsis
A Unipay enabler digitizing the payments with respect to Government Initiatives of Smart cities, Bharat Nirmaan, EBT transactions for all kind of institutions likes of Government Departments, Municipalities, NGO’s , MFI’s , Micro insurance providers, NBFC’s, BOA’s , Schools, Cooperative / Agriculture / Housing Societies etc by providing accountability and transparency for all payment transactions including C2C, G2C and C2G payments allowing disbursements, collections , transfers and utility payments leveraging UPI’s key concepts of Virtual payment address for ‘Pay’ and ‘Collect’ requests bringing inter-operability among all PSP’s.
Brief details about Fundu:
4 member’s team backed by Eko India Financial Services Private Limited.
Team Members are Gautam Chowdhary,Vivek Kumar, GAURAV MALIK, Nirmal Maheshwari

Brief details about Ultra Cash:
4 member’s team @ Raja Mohata,Vivek Srivastava, Anshuman Purushottam, Manas Kumar Mallik

Reference Documents
01) NPCI organises Unified Payment Interface (UPI) Hackathon

02) NPCI presents Unified Payments Interface (UPI) system

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

15 Opportunities for Safe Digital Transactions in India Budget 2016

          At the first glance, the below announcements in Shri Arun Jaitely’s Budget have a profound impact on the volumes of Safe Digital Transactions in India.

          The effects might not been visible in the short term, but will be visible in the medium-term to long-term.

Opportunity No 1: Unified Agriculture Marketing Scheme common e-market platform
Impact: All payments to the farmers will be routed through the Digital mode only. The payments may be directly to the farmer’s bank accounts or to linked mobile wallets. The mode of disbursement can be IMPS or NACH Credit platform. Splitting of credit by routing percentage wise to different recipients can also be explored.

Opportunity No 2: Crop Insurance Scheme, namely, Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana  
Impact: All payouts will be in digital mode only.

Opportunity No 3: Online Procurement System of farmer’s produce through the Food Corporation of India
Impact: All payouts will be in digital mode only.  NACH – EXCLUSIVE SESSION FOR PUNJAB GOVERNMENT TRANSACTIONS

Opportunity No 4:  Creation of 'E-Pashudhan Haat', an eMarket portal for connecting breeders and farmers
Impact: Participants will be encouraged in digital transactions only.

Opportunity No 5: Provision of Animal Health Cards ('Nakul Swasthya Patra')
Impact: Insurance policy details will be part of the Animal Health Cards. Premium collections and claims disbursements will be through digital transactions.

Opportunity No 6: 300 Rurban Clusters will be developed under the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban Mission.
Impact: Capsule programs on Safe Digital Transactions will be held to encourage rural folk to switch from physical to digital transactions.

Opportunity No 7: Two Schemes to promote digital literacy: National Digital Literacy Mission; and Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (DISHA).
Impact:  Launchof a  new Digital Literacy Mission Scheme for rural India to cover around 6 crore additional households within the next 3 years.

Opportunity No 8: New health protection scheme which will provide health cover up to Rs.One lakh per family. For senior citizens of age 60 years and above belonging to this category, an additional top-up package up to INR30,000 will be provided.
Impact: Premium collections and claims disbursements will be through digital transactions.

Opportunity No 9: "Stand Up India Scheme" to promote entrepreneurship among SC/ST and women. The Scheme will facilitate at least two such projects per bank branch, one for each category of entrepreneur. This will benefit at least 2.5 lakh entrepreneurs.
Impact: The selected entrepreneurs will be encourage to rely on “LessCash” modes rather than “Cash” modes.

Opportunity no 10: Digital Depository for School Leaving Certificates, College Degrees, Academic Awards and Mark sheets, on the pattern of a Securities Depository.
Impact: Need I say anything, the impact is clear.

Opportunity No 11: "Skill India" mission Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).
Impact: Participants of PMKVY across 1500m Multi Skill Training Institutes will be encouraged to explore “LessCash” modes rather than “Cash” modes.

Opportunity No 12: Entrepreneurs will be able to operate buses on various routes, subject to certain efficiency and safety norms.
Impact: Boost for ‘MORE’ – National Common Mobility Card. Reduction of income leakages.

Opportunity No 12: Action plan for revival of unserved and underserved airports.
Impact: Online ticketing companies can tap new routes and introduce the joy of air travel through discounts and CashBack offers. Boost to local tourism and hospitality industry. Medical tourism is also a viable option.

Opportunity NO 13: . The Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) Increase in target disbursement amount from INR1,00,000 crore to INR1,80,000 crore.
Impact: Loan Holders will be encouraged to opt for “LessCash” mode rather than “Cash” mode. 25% of the loan amount can be disbursed through Rupay Card.

Opportunity No 14: To provide better access to financial services, especially in rural areas, there will be a massive nationwide rollout of ATMs and Micro ATMs in Post Offices over the next three years.
Impact: Motivator for rural folk to route their transactions through Bank Accounts or linked Mobile Wallets.

Opportunity No 15:  Of the 5.35 lakh Fair Price Shops in the country, automation facilities will be provided in 3 lakh Fair Price Shops by March 2017.
Impact: The beneficiaries can buy the goods through Debit Cards linked to their bank accounts or mobile wallets.

          More opportunities will be added as and when understood.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Digital Transactions in India-Zip Zap Zoom

          This Press Release by Government of India has started to create waves in the financial industry across the world.

          The full rollout plan will be unveiled in the next couple of weeks. As of now this is only a ‘trailer’.

          In simple terms, the focus is on to reduce ‘cash transactions’, in India and promote Safe Payments through cards and digital means.

          A series of steps both short term and medium terms are in the pipeline. Short term steps will be implemented within one year. Medium term steps will be implemented within two years.

          These will be chiefly implemented by Government Ministries/ Departments/ Organisations. Private sector too will join in once the benefits are visible.

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for introduction of steps for promotion of payments through cards and digital means.

          Promotion of payments through cards and digital means will be instrumental in :-
  • reducing tax avoidance,
  • migration of Government payments and collections to cashless mode,
  • discourage transactions in cash by providing access to financial payment services to the citizens to conduct transactions through card/ digital means and
  • shifting payment ecosystem from cash dominated to non-cash/less cash payments.

The essential features of the proposals for promotion of payments through cards and digital means include

  • steps for withdrawal of surcharge/service charge/ convenience fee on card/ digital payments currently imposed by various Government Departments/organisations 
  • introduction of appropriate acceptance infrastructure in Government Departments/ organisations;
  • rationalization of Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) on card transactions
  • a differentiated MDR framework for some key transaction segments;
  • mandating payments beyond a prescribed threshold only in card/ digital mode;
  • introduction of formulae linked acceptance infrastructure by the stakeholders of certain card products;
  • rationalisation of telecom service charges for digital financial transactions;
  • promotion of mobile banking;
  • creation of necessary assurance mechanisms for quick resolution of fraudulent transactions
  • review the payments ecosystem in the country.

Now it is up to the various participants in the Digital Transactions arena to roll-out innovative, simple, safe, LessCost, low size, solutions to fast track the growth of digital transactions. 

          These guidelines will be beneficial to the upcoming Payment Banks and Small Finance Banks to roll out appropriate products from Day 1.


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