Now get account related information on the move - without visiting branches or calling up bank’s customer care service.
BANK WATCH BY SAJJAD BAZAZ
A few days back, a bank customer in a state of shock barged into the branch manager’s cabin. ‘Sir, my account shows a balance of Rs.65/- only. Where is my salary? It has been withdrawn clandestinely,” the customer shouted.
The branch manager made him to calm down and asked him the details of being in a state of shock. Basically, the customer had attempted to withdraw some money from his account at an ATM location adjacent to the branch where he maintains his salary account. But a message ‘insufficient balance’ was flashed on the ATM screen. He took out a printout of his account statement and found available balance of just Rs.65/- in his account.
But for him, the balance in the account was more than Rs.10,000/-, as according to him, his establishment clerk in his department had conveyed him that the salary was credited to his account some days back.
The branch manager viewed his account statement on his monitor and found that the balance in the account was Rs1,065/-. The account showed ‘available balance’ of Rs.65/- as Rs.1000 were not allowed to be withdrawn for complying with ‘minimum balance’ norm and to keep the account alive. Besides, there was nothing in the account statement which suggested clandestine withdrawal of money, as no salary was credited in the account. Even as it took time for the branch manager to make things clear to the customer, he left the branch as a satisfied customer. So it was his establishment clerk who had lied to him convincingly.
Recently, police arrested a few persons in Jammu who had fraudulently withdrawn more than Rs.1.50 lacs from an account of a customer. The cheats had managed to obtain cheques of the said bank customer and also copied the signature of the account holder.
These kinds of incidents have been happening in the banks all over globe. However, the technology intervention in the banking operations has made it possible for the customers to keep track on the operations in accounts without visiting the bank branch. Notably, with the rapid growth in the number of mobile phone subscribers in India (about 261 million as at the end of March 2008 and growing at about 8 million a month), banks have been exploring the feasibility of using mobile phones as an alternative channel of delivery of banking services. A few banks have started offering information based services like balance enquiry, stop payment instruction of cheques, record of last five transactions, location of nearest ATM/branch etc. Acceptance of transfer of funds instruction for credit to beneficiaries of same/or another bank in favor of pre-registered beneficiaries have also commenced in a few banks.
There can be two levels of mobile based banking service - the first or basic level in the nature of information like balance enquiry, SMS alert for credit or debit, status of last five transactions, and many other information providing services and the second or standard level in the nature of financial transactions such as payments, transfers and stop payments. The risk associated with the basic level of information services is much less compared to the standard level of actual payment services. In this regard, the Reserve bank of India in its guidelines has asked the banks to have prior registration of the customers irrespective of the type of service requested.
Here real time alert service is proving a big step forward in collaborative banking. And it is the alerting technology that offers the customers increased control over their interaction with banks. SMS Alert Service is also to rein in increasing frauds and help cash management. Since it notifies a customer about the amount of each transaction through text every time his or her is operated, any surprise or doubtful transaction will immediately alert the account holder. Precisely this is a service which allows customers to monitor their account activity without visiting the branch. It is a hi-tech mechanism to offer accountholders the reassurance of knowing, in real-time, exactly when transactions take place in their accounts. If something looks suspicious, this will give them the power to put a stop to any fraud taking place in their accounts.
As a further step towards modernising its services and providing the excellent services to the customers, J&K Bank has introduced SMS Alert facility to all its customers, which regularly updates the customer about their account activities. In the first phase, this SMS Alert service delivers alerts regarding account debit transactions, account credit transactions, account balance, notification for loan installments, term deposit maturity and stop payment information. More services shall be added in due course of time.
The customers of the bank have to submit account details and mobile number on the prescribed form available at branches and also on the website of the bank. Notably, the ‘SMS Alert Service’ is available free of cost. Since all government and semi government employees have salary accounts in J&K Bank, this SMS alert service can keep them updated about their account activity, particularly when their salary is being credited. For this they don’t have to make visits of their branch to check whether salary has been credited or not.
Meanwhile, it is not enough to have a bank account these days. In this new age banking scenario, one needs to have the personal identification number (PIN) and a password to take advantage of all that modern banking technology has to offer, especially internet banking facility. Imagine a worst case scenario when ATM breaks down or runs out of cash in the hour of need. In such situations, where one needs emergency cash or has to make immediate payments, these passwords and PIN serve as lifelines. And once one gets into the habit of using these alphanumerical codes, one would never make a trip to the bank branch again.
It is for the customer also to make banking activities simpler and smarter for himself or herself. He should have an urge to have a net banking password. Once he gets a separate Internet password for his account, he can conduct online transactions, including paying his credit cards bills etc. from the comfort of his home. These online transactions are free.
It is pertinent to mention that the technological innovations, with maximized use of internet and mobile services, have off late been at the forefront of the J&K Bank’s business strategy. The Bank has been offering internet banking facility to its customers where non-fund and fund based transactions are allowed to the customer free of cost.
(The views are of the author & not the institution he works for. Feedback: email@example.com)
Lastupdate on : Mon, 10 May 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 10 May 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 11 May 2010 00:00:00 IST
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