Banks Must Take Measures To Promote Online Transactions They must consider waiving bank charges for online transfers and RTGS transaction charges for customers

By Kewal Kapoor

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With the WHO declaring a pandemic, institutions across India have started taking measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus and limit physical interactions. It is high time banks start doing the same to promote public health and safety. For starters, they must consider waiving bank charges for online transfers and RTGS transaction charges for customers.

With a potential outbreak looming around the corner, they must take measures in advance so that they can meet future challenges, and people can remain safe from the adverse economic impacts of the pandemic. The financial sector plays a key role in providing services to both the general public and businesses, and banks must hold discussions with their stakeholders and take measures to ensure service continuity without risking exposure to the virus. The measures should aim to reduce the need to visit ATMs or bank branches and promote digital services such as Internet and phone banking. Apart from waiving charges for online transfers, the fee earned on online bill payments, including mobile top-ups, utility payments, and duties and taxes should be shared equally by the banks and the PSOs.

The financial industry must also be instructed to facilitate loan repayments and education fees through Internet and phone banking. All the banks, PSOs and payment system providers should make urgent arrangements to enable digital collection of invoices such as education fees and offer loan repayment facilities through digital channels. This will encourage customers to transfer money through Internet or phone banking without incurring extra costs. Banks must educate technologically impaired customers to use online banking while taking precautions to ensure the security and safety of customer funds.

Banks must also take steps to ensure that helplines/call centers are available round the clock for customer support. If possible, financial institutions must run awareness campaigns through different channels to encourage customers to use Internet or phone banking, limit the use of physical currency and restrict visits to the bank. To avoid any frauds that might result from a surge in digital transactions, the industry must exercise greater vigilance over digital channels and increase monitoring to avoid cyber threats.

The coronavirus outbreak has challenged the daily life globally and countries are scrambling to find solutions. So far, the main approach has been to take defensive measures. The aforementioned suggestions, if implemented, will help customers meet their routine financial needs. It is the responsibility of the banks to work with stakeholders and take all possible measures to improve public safety.

Kewal Kapoor

Director & Creative Strategist, CHAI Creative and Return of Million Smiles

With a successful and multi faceted career as a writer, journalist, producer and director behind him, Mr. Kewal Kapoor had just the appropriate cross-industry experience to make him an exceptional consultant and creative strategist. This versatility of experience led him to conceive CHAI Kreative & Advertising agency, a unique service provider that helps startups and new businesses lock in the right strategies and solutions to grow and flourish.

Parallel to this endeavor is his pursuit of actively fighting age discrimination and creating an amenable environment for the elderly by promoting their participation in social enterprise, communication and entrepreneurship. From this pursuit emerges his second major enterprise – the Return of the Million Smiles.

An avid reader and passionate writer who is proficient in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and English, Mr. Kewal Kapoor has conceptualized and created groundbreaking TV documentaries and shows including the first ever series on Tax Laws in India, the first Human Rights based show on Indian television and a programme on the Kargil martyrs. He served as the Executive Producer with a top notch Production house in Mumbai and has been a consulting partner with some of the top advertising agencies in India.

Since 2012, his focus has intensified towards work that creates genuine value in people’s lives. In 2017, he started CHAI Kreative and Advertising Private Limited which has crossed a turnover of Rs. 3.5 crore in a short span of time.

One of Kewal Kapoor's missions in life has been to create a life of health and dignity for the elderly.  With The Return of Million Smiles project, his objective of promoting dignified ageing has become a reality.

Employing technical solutions to create emotional wellbeing for the aged and making them an important part of the community living space is the vision. An impressive deal has already been frozen for which his company wishes to infuse capital in the coming financial year, with the positive goal of reaching some major markets abroad.

Mr Kapoor is also on the Advisory Board of The Poddar Foundation and has played a key role in launching the Mental Health brand "Silence Todo". 

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