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March 2, 2017

How Digital Money Transfer affects Cash Management System in SME Banking

digital money bankingIn the recent years, there has been a surge in the number of e-commerce startups. This has resulted in a higher usage of payment gateways. These gateways are beneficial in developing customer trust through easier transactional capabilities.

A large number of studies show that the demand for reliable payment gateways will continue to rise. Businesses may choose from several gateway service providers to ensure safe, quick, and easy monetary transactions.

Digitalization of different processes, new payment platforms, and demand for finance provide challenges and opportunities to payment ventures operating in India. Here are four reasons for the growth of payment gateways in the country.

1. Increase in service providers that are taking advantage of opportunities with advanced technical apps
2. Extension of financial inclusion using mobile-based solutions
3. Newer innovations that are reaching the masses at quickly
4. Digitalization for the development of new lending and payment models

Traditional banks are adopting innovative payment-linked ecosystems for the convenience of their customers. Banks are especially providing specialized solutions for catering to the needs of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).Several mobile platforms allow payments across different categories, such as bill payments, shopping, and peer-to-peer payments.

Most of the large companies have adopted digitalization since many years. These companies conduct their various processes, such as accounts management, treasury management, and payments electronically. Such large enterprises consider advanced technologies while selecting their banking partners.

Importance of digitalization in the SME sector

In the last few years, most banks have developed cash management systems that are convenient for their customers. Almost every bank offers mobile-based cash management tools that are used by companies for not only managing their accounts but also initiating payments.

As larger companies embrace digitalization, the SME ventures still rely on cash and branch banking. The banks are offering several initiatives to encourage SMEs to move to digital platforms. One of these includes enabling merchants to receive card-based receipts using low-end mobile devices. This offers a non-cash alternative for several SME businesses. Another initiative benefiting many customer-orientated companies is the Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) that makes transacting quick, transparent, and efficient.

Banks are offering several cash management services to help SMEs improve operational efficiencies. Here are four categories of such services offered by banks.

1. Management

• Optimal collection and payment systems on behalf of customers
• Wide network access, clearing infrastructure, special software, and correspondent banks’ tie-ups for timely and efficient operations

2. Products

• Receivables management
• Information technology (IT) solutions for customized multiple electronic payment mechanisms
• Collection of cheques in bulk
• Cheque purchasing facilities
• Management of post-dated cheques

3. Payable management

• Refund of Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), interest and dividend warrants
• Bulk demand draft with entire correspondent banking network
• Remote printing of different instruments including cheques

4. Escrow services

• Availability of escrow depository accounts
• Dedicated team of legal and financial product personnel for assisting complex transactions
• Transaction structuring with lawyers, clients, or investment bankers
• Customization of reports and Management Information System (MIS) as per customer requirements

Streamlined processing mechanisms and real-time data integration make it easier for SMEs and large companies to gain access to various solutions as per their needs.

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January 18, 2017

How to Open a Savings Account

creating a savings accountA savings bank account is where most people begin their journey of savings. There is no safer place than a bank to store your money. It also pays you for keeping your money there in the form of interest. But, there are several banks around and each have their own benefits, so before you open a savings account decide a bank to go to. Following are steps on how to open a savings account –

– Select a bank

Inquire about banks that are situated in your locality. Better will be to research about them online as there is an abundance of information available online. Each bank will have a distinctive service and offer, decide which one’s best for you. Important points to consider is the presence of the bank and their ATM networks. Also remember that you will be needing several services of your bank at random hours so there has to be an availability of online and mobile banking as well. Be it physically or digitally, your bank should be within reach all the time.

– Check out their website

If you like a bank then go ahead and check out their website and find out more about their services. You can check out each and every service of theirs by just sitting on your desk. The advent of mobile and online banking has made life convenient, also ATMs can be accessed 24/7 making banking simpler and hassle free. Plan your visit to the bank on weekdays at 9.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. and on Saturdays at 9.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. Banks remain closed on Sundays and other public holidays.

– Type of account

Although we know that we’ve to open a savings account, there are several types of savings account out there catered specifically to match your needs. Some options are Easy access accounts, Basic savings accounts, Joint savings accounts, Women’s savings accounts and Youth account. Best option for you will be to get in touch with bank representative and ask for details.

– Keep information ready

To open any savings account you will have to submit certain documents and information to the bank. This is a norm that is followed by all banks, some banks will require more information and several documents will be asked, it will be better if you keep these documents handy.

– Depositing your opening amount

Several banks require a minimum amount deposit to open a new account. The amount depends on the bank, some may have a greater minimum amount deposit and same may have none. Find out these details in advance and have the amount ready when you’re about to open a new account.

– Read and understand the terms

Do not hesitate to ask questions, you should be clear about each and every aspect of the account. Also read the information available online on the bank’s website, inquire about service charges, benefits and services available on the account.

– Sample signature

You will asked for a sample signature while opening your account. This signature will be used in all of your future transactions related to the account, like withdrawing money or signing a check. If there are noticeable differences in your signature then the transaction won’t be permitted. This a procedure done to keep your account safe and to avoid any issues with the signature, you can practice it on a piece of paper for several times.

– Account opened!

Congratulations, you’re now a valued bank customer. After the verification of your form and documents, your account will be opened. You will receive a welcome kit from the bank that will include important information about your account like information leaflets, cheque book and customer relation number. The kit may also include your debit card, with the pin number, also attached will be your net banking and phone banking pin.

With the advent of technology on the banking front, you can also opt for online account opening, the procedure is easy and the steps are hassle-free.

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December 16, 2016

NPS and How to Maximize Asset Allocation

asset allocationsThe National Pension System (NPS), introduced by the Indian government in the year 2004 is mandatory for all government employees except the armed forces personnel.This scheme was extended to the private sector in 2009. It is a portable retirement savings account, which can be efficiently used to provide financial security to senior’s through a pension income.

This scheme offers benefits such as tax deduction of INR 1.5 lacs under section 80CCD (1) of the Income Tax Act (IT). An additional tax deduction of up to INR 50,000 under section 80CCD (1B) of the IT Act is also available. Subscribers also have the flexibility of choosing asset allocation between equity, fixed income instruments, and government securities.

NPS is known as a defined contribution scheme because returns under this scheme are market driven. The NPS interest rate changes based on the performance of the market and the asset allocation chosen by the subscribers.

Asset allocation under NPS

Funds invested in NPS can be invested into 3 types of assets namely equity, corporate bonds, and government securities. There are two investment options available under this plan;auto choice and active choice.

Under auto choice, funds are automatically allocated in a pre-determined proportion based on the age of the subscriber. For example for subscribers under the age of 35 years, funds are allocated as follows: 50% in equity and balance amongst corporate bonds and government securities. As the subscribers age, the exposure to equity is reduced and investment in government securities increase.

Under the active choice option, subscribers may choose the asset allocation as per their preferences. The NPS scheme allows subscribers to allot upto 50% of their contributions to equity. Subscribers may use this option to their advantage to maximize the potential returns. For instance, an Investor approaching retirement age (between 45 to 50 years) may opt for a conservative allocation by investing a substantial portion of his funds in government securities.

Maturity and Annuities

The primary objective of NPS is to create a corpus that is used to buy an annuity plan for regular income during the post-retirement years. At the age of 60, the subscriber may with draw a maximum of 60% of the funds as a lump sum. The remaining corpus is used to purchase an annuity that will provide regular income to the subscriber.

Subscribers may choose not to withdraw any funds and use 100% of the corpus to buy an annuity. However, if the corpus at the time of exit from NPS at the age of 60 years is less than 2 lacs, the subscribers may withdraw the entire amount in lump sum. To determine the potential income, individuals may use an online pension plan calculator.

Joining NPS

In order to join the NPS scheme, the subscribers must submit the NPS application form, along with Know Your Customer documents to a Point of Presence (POP). Upon submitting the documents, the subscribers are issued with a Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN), T-Pin and I-Pin. Subscribers are informed of their PRAN application status via email and SMS. They may also know their application status by contacting the issuing bank. However, the subscribers may get in touch with the Central Record Keeping Agency (CRA) which manages the issuance of PRAN, in case the PRAN card is not received.

NPS is focused on offering financial security to the individuals after their retirement. The flexibility available for investors to allocate their contributions in different asset classes allows them to maximize the returns and accumulate a higher post-retirement income.

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December 13, 2016

Why you need Good CIBIL Score for Home Loan Approval

approved loan for your homeCIBIL Score is a crucial aspect in determining your home loan eligibility. Every time you apply for home loan, your lender checks this score for approving/disapproving your application. It is a summary of your credit history as per your credit behaviour. It depends on the following factors:

Past payments: All your previous payments, whether on time or delayed, are recorded with CIBIL. Consistency in making payments is considered good whereas more recent delays are seen negatively.

Settlements, defaults and write-offs: Multiple write-offs, defaults on previous loans and more recent write-offs (as opposed to older ones) have negative effects on your credit score. Defaults and delays on secured loans are worse than on unsecured loans.

Credit as proportion of income: The higher the loan balance you have, the lower your credit score will be. Less loan balance shows smart credit utilization on your part.

Credit cards: If you have high credit card balances, your credit score will be low. Consistency in repaying credit card debts improves the score. Credit cards (unsecured loans) are viewed negatively by lenders as compared to secured loans.

Different ranges of CIBIL Score

Every person with a financial history has a CIBIL score and it can range anywhere between 300 and 900, with 900 being the highest. A person can also have a score of 0 or -1, which means that they have no credit history in terms of loans and credit cards. So to get the credit history started, you must have at least one credit card or applied for a loan. Here is a breakup of CIBIL scores and what it means:

  • 550 – 650: It is a fair score and accepted by many lenders. This score shows that you have been quite regular with your repayments, other than a few exceptions. Most lenders trust borrowers with this score and approve their home loans but usually with a higher interest rates.
  • 300 – 550: This is the worst score anybody can have and it means that you have been defaulting on your payments. With such a score, getting credit is extremely difficult.
  • 650 – 750: For home loan eligibility, this score is very promising. And if you have this credit score, you will not face any issue regarding approval of application.
  • 750 – 900: It is the best possible score anybody can have and it indicates your expertise at managing your finances. Lenders will approve even a larger loan amount to you at great rates when you apply for home loan.
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October 5, 2016

3 ways to keep your online banking secure in 2016

online banking securitiesIt is one of those timeless conundrums which has tested the thinking of man for centuries. If you had to, would you do something you know was very dangerous.

If you saw a child about to be run over, would you step in front of a car to save them? If you are dying of thirst, would you drink filthy water to survive? If you house is on fire, would you jump out of the window to escape.

We have all pondered these kinds of questions at some point, but fortunately most of us never have to contemplate the dilemma in reality.

But there are other everyday dilemmas that we do have to confront which, whilst perhaps not involving the same danger, can still expose us to significant risk.

One such example of this is when we use online banking. We know online banking is insecure. It doesn’t matter which bank you use, and how many trendy keypads and other gadgets they give you, we all know there is still a risk when we log into our online account which isn’t there if we want into a branch.

The popularity of online banking suggests two things about this. Either we don’t fully understand the extent of the risk, or we have decided it is a risk we are willing to take. For most of us, it is a combination of both.

But make no mistake, online banking does pose a significant risk. The level of security used by all banks is extremely weak and the techniques of online hackers gets ever more sophisticated. And often we don’t help ourselves, making basic errors like using easy-to-break passwords or logging on while connected to public Wi-Fi networks.

The ramifications if you are hacked can be significant too. Of course, you can lose a lot of money. However, as most banks will compensate you in those circumstances that is sometimes not a big worry. But going into overdraft or losing a sizable amount of money can affect things like your credit cards, and premium accounts you may hold, and of course run up charges with your bank that can take months to sort out.

Then there is your credit score. If you are hacked and miss payments as a result, it can affect your credit score which might cause you to be unable to get credit and secure mortgages and other financial services.

So, the question I am often asked is whether there is a way to protect ourselves when using Online Banking. Is it possible to make the process more secure?

Encouragingly, the answer is yes. And in this article I will give you my tips as to the top 3 ways to keep your online banking secure in 2016:

1. Use an ‘Anti-Spy Privacy Screen:

For all the high-tech ways that people get hacked these days, there are still a significant number of incidents where data is stolen simply by watching over people’s shoulder as they use their online banking account in public.

It might seem silly, but it happens a lot and it is unnecessary because there is a cheap and simple bit of kit which can prevent it: an Anti-Spy Privacy Screen.

There are available for all devices these days and work in the same way as a regular screen protector. However, they are a little thicker and a little darker, and this means that when you look at the screen of a device from an angle, you can see nothing.

Only the person directly facing the screen can make out what is there, so when you log onto your online banking on the go, you can be sure that the only person looking, is you.

2. Change your Password Regularly:

Passwords are another big vulnerability of online banking. Often they are easy to guess, simple to crack, and offer little or no real protection.

One way around this is to use a Password Manager such as Last Pass which can make it easy for you to use complicated passwords without having to remember them all.

But another relatively effective approach is just to change your password on a regular basis. If you are an occasional user, making a password change every few months is a sensible precaution, but if you are logging into your account regularly and from different locations, every few weeks would be more sensible.

3. Use a VPN:

Perhaps the most important tip on this list is to use a VPN. A VPN can help ensure your online banking is secure in a variety of different ways.

Encryption is vital to keep your data secure online and whilst all banks will encrypt their online banking data, some are more secure than others. A good VPN will ensure all of your online activity, including online banking is encrypted securely.

They also protect you when you are using public Wi-Fi. Again the encryption they offer means even the weakest of Wi-Fi connections becomes secure.

Indeed, VPNs are so good at encrypting your online activity that you can even access otherwise inaccessible online services, like being able to log onto Gmail while in China, where it is usually blocked.

With a VPN in place, and using these other precautions as well, you can be pretty confident that your online banking will be secure, no matter who you bank with.

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