Now you will be able to buy Visa payment cards from kirana outlets if you do not have a credit or debit card. The initiative, by the US-based company is aimed at helping people without cards to make electronic payments for travel tickets, utility payments and shopping. The company, in association with DCB Bank has appointed Itz cash as a business correspondent to distribute cards across 40,000 shops in 2,500 centres.
Bank pre-paid cards till now have been largely limited to the travel segment, which have replaced travellers' cheques and are mainly used by travellers who are wary of using their debit or credit cards overseas. The Freedom Prepaid Card is pitched at people who have no access to electronic payments but could do with the convenience while buying travel tickets or making payments towards taxes.
The target buyers include unorganised sector workers such as taxi and auto drivers. The shopkeeper would largely function as an agent of the bank and complete the "know your customer" formalities which would involve getting an identity and address proof.
According to Uttam Nayak, Visa's group country manager, India and South Asia, the card would aim to achieve financial inclusion through collaboration, adding that the segment could be profitable for banks if they were to achieve scale. The partners are looking at issuing 1 million of the pre-paid cards across India, and at a later stage they would also consider a cash at point-of-sale facility with the merchant offering cash whenever required.
For DCB Bank, the float money involved is the main attraction in the venture. RBI guidelines call for the money collected by issuers of pre-paid cards to be maintained in a separate account.
The card would be issued at an initial cost of Rs50 and can be recharged any number of times after issue with amounts ranging from Rs250 to Rs50,000. In addition to the initial cost the cardholder would have to pay an annual fee of Rs 20.