Following the ‘stay home to stay safe’ norm, financial entities, predominantly banks, are now extending their services to the doorsteps of their customers, to limit footfalls at branches.https://www.youtube.com/embed/5OQ5CRnw1Qk
What is it?
Customers can now avail basic banking services such as cheque drop/ collection and cash deposits/ withdrawals, from the comfort of their home. One can even open a fresh fixed deposit, using Doorstep Banking Services or DBS. The services offered under DBS vary from bank to bank.
To get these services, customers need to raise a request over the phone or over the mobile banking facility of their banks. The bank will then assess the request and send their personnel to the registered communication address of the customer.
While a few banks such as Axis Bank extend these services to all customers, many of them offer DBS only to senior citizens (aged 70 and above) and those who are differently-abled or infirm — those with medically certified chronic illness or disability.
Why is it important?
Even during the unlocking phase, many states resorted to sporadic lockdowns up until August. Not all states have resumed public transport, which made it extremely difficult for the aged and disabled to reach out to bank branches. The fear of contracting the virus is another factor limiting branch visits. DBS has definitely made lives easier for such folks.
Following the success of DBS with private banks, the Finance Minister earlier this month announced an alliance (as part of the EASE Banking Reforms), to be formed by the 12 public sector banks for the DBS initiative. The customers of these PSBs can now avail DBS through universal touchpoints of call centre, web portal or mobile app. The services would be rendered by doorstep banking agents, from October 2020 at 100 top deposit centres. PSBs are also mulling to form a separate company for this DBS alliance.
Why should I care?
Still, many transactions mandate a branch visit. Take, for instance, the submission of forms, such as Form 15G/H and life certificate for a pensioner. Thanks to DBS, all this can be done at the comfort of your home. A few banks at select branches, also send a mobile ATM, upon request, under their DBS initiatives.
Through their recent alliance, PSBs currently only offer non-financial transactions under DBS. Financial transactions will also soon be launched.
That apart, as mentioned earlier, the services are currently offered only to seniors and differently-abled. Over time hopefully, they will offer it to all customers (except minors and joint account holders).
But it is important to note that there are no free lunches. Banks charge anywhere between ₹60-200 (plus taxes), for every DBS request. For services to be offered through their alliance, PSBs would charge ₹75 (plus taxes) per financial/ non-financial service.
While the fee charged is nominal considering the comfort, banks have different transactional limits for DBS. For instance, HDFC Bank and SBI have capped the transactions at ₹25,000 and ₹20,000. The processing time for the DBS request can be a limiting factor too.
Currently, the responses are not instant, unlike the conventional internet or mobile or phone banking services and hence it may not be suitable for time-bound transactions. Most banks offer these doorstep banking facilities on working days only and banks take anywhere between one to two working days to process a request.
Doorstep banking is a boon for the not so tech-savvy customers, seniors and differently-abled.
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