Micro finance institutions ride on mobile boom
In an effort to increase the reach of micro-financing into rural India, microfinance institutions (MFIs) are now using mobile phone technologies to make it more convenient and secure for the users. The latest to enter this segment is Cashpor India, which has partnered with the Israel-based ClassifEye to adopt their software-based fingerprint authentication technology that enables the MFI’s agents to carry out transactions efficiently.
ClassifEye’s imaging technology uses camera phones to deliver secure services for customers served by MFIs. Customers can access a broad range of financial services that are handled by the MFI to manage loans, make deposits and execute other operations via field agents who are equipped with Internet-enabled cellular phones. The phones have ClassifEye’s software downloaded on to it. Each transaction request is authenticated via the MFI agent’s camera-phones, which are used to capture an image of each customer’s fingerprints, following initial customer registration by the field agents through traditional procedures.
Cashpor India, which has three lakh active loan clients with a portfolio of Rs 150 crore, is piloting the service in parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Dr David S. Gibbons, Chief Executive Officer of Cashpor India, told Business Line that “Rural women are keen to use technology if it makes their lives better. But reaching rural populations with cost-effective, appropriate technology and products in a financially sustainable manner is a big challenge. Solutions offered by ClassifEye will aid in monitoring operations, taking more informed management decisions and in planning timelier follow-up.” ClassifEye’s solutions can work both online and offline making it work in areas where there is no mobile connectivity.
Mr Rami Cohen, Chief Executive Officer of ClassifEye, said, “ClassifEye’s solutions will allow tens of millions of rural Indians to access services that were previously out of their reach. Similarly, many vendors and merchants will be able to gain access to new markets of hundreds of millions of people, resulting in new opportunities for microfinance and commerce throughout the developing world.”
Mr Raj Raghavan, Vice-President, Emerging Markets, ClassifEye, said the company is in talks with other MFIs for a similar partnership.