Microfinance has since long proven to be a profit-making business for banks the world over. It involves providing retail banking services including savings accounts, current accounts, loans etc to small investors and businesses. Financial Inclusion is one of the ways in which banks seek to increase their share of microfinance business. Its objective is to extend basic banking services to marginalised sections of society which include villages and remote areas of the country where access to normal banking services is next to impossible.
Financial Inclusion is implemented with the help of electronic devices called Hand Held Devices (HHD) and suitable communication links such as GPRS. A Business Correspondent (BC) is a representative of the bank who is allotted a certain number of villages for implementing FI. He visits the villages and helps customers do transactions using the HHD which communicates with the bank's Core Banking Server (CBS).
ZSL has both Online and Offline solutions for FI. ZSL Solutions use an RFID based Contactless Smart Card provided to each customer with his account details encoded on it. Each Smart Card also stores the fingerprint of the customer so that he can be uniquely identified. Each BC is also provided with a Smart Card which he uses for identification as well as transaction authorization.
In online mode, account number and balance availability are authenticated by the CBS. In Offline mode, Beginning of Day (BoD) and End of Day (EoD) processes are used to synchronize transactions and balances with the CBS.
Currently ZSL online and offline solutions support only Savings Bank Accounts. The transactions supported include
» Cash Deposit
» Cash Withdrawal
» Balance Enquiry
» Mini Statement
Each transaction has to be authenticated by the customer and authorised by the BC using fingerprints which are read by the FP Sensor on the HHD and compared with those recorded on the respective Smart Cards. This ensures security during the transaction.
Transaction Information is then encoded in ISO 8583 format, encrypted and transmitted to the central FI Server using GPRS and from there to the bank's CBS Server using Broadband link. SSL is used between FI Server and CBS Server. This ensures security during transmission.