When I was a student 20 years ago, money transfers were a tedious process. My parents would either wire the money through a bank transfer or a postal money order, depending on the facility available back home, and the money would reach me in a few days or a week depending on the mode chosen.
ATM services were restricted to a few private banks and did not have a pan-India presence. So, the notion that my parents could deposit the money to my account from a corresponding branch in my hometown 2,000 kms away and I withdraw the same five minutes later from my branch or an ATM was a novelty that I or others from my generation could only dream of! Simply put, the facilities to instantaneously transfer money to a different account and a branch, even within the same bank, did not exist on a pan-India basis.
Now, things are very different. Money can be transferred instantaneously across banks, branches, cities, and even internationally, and any time of the day!
That said, not every one of us is tech-savvy to make online money transfers over the Internet or the mobile. That’s where the concept of Domestic Money Transfer (DMT) comes in handy!
Let’s take the case of Hemant Soren, for instance. A resident of Jharkhand, he works in a construction project in Odisha’s Kalinganagar. Every month, he sends in a large chunk of his salary back home to his parents in Dumka.
As a construction site employee, Soren often has to spend time in off-beat locations with poor net connectivity. So, despite being Internet savvy, he cannot transfer the money from his own end because of logistical issues.
Once in a while, he visits the iServeU outlet in the nearby town and deposits the money with the domestic money remittance (DMR) agent. The DMR agent transfers the proceeds to the beneficiary’s (Soren’s parents’) account through NEFT or IMPS.
The DMT has come as a boon for Soren and other migrant workers. Even daily wage earners in Soren’s construction site find DMT useful. The banks are located far away in the city, and the timings do not suit their daily job hours. Neither can they afford to lose a day’s work to stand in a queue in the bank. The DMT solves all these problems and ensures that they can send the money in real-time to their families.
In the evening, the mATM service, which Asit Lal, the local grocer runs near the construction site is busy. Also known as micro ATM, this is a card swipe device, something similar to the PoS credit/debit card swipe machines. But unlike those, mATMs allow for regular ATM services like cash withdrawal and balance enquiry. Lal earns a decent commission for his micro ATM services, and Soren and can withdraw cash without having to go to the bank ATM 20 kms away.
Today, facilities like DMT and mATMs have transformed the life of the people in the rural areas and brought them within the ambit of banking in a significant step towards financial inclusion.