A Glimpse Into the Future of Banking: India’s First Bank in an App

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What if I told you that today, it is possible to open an account in 90 seconds and convert it into a savings account immediately? What if I told you that you can do that in India? You probably know by now (if you follow LTP) what I am talking about: a mobile-only bank product. The 21st century’s innovations are peaking in the areas of banking and commerce. As technology continues to play an increasingly important role in the rise of digitization, banks are reimagining and reinventing customer experiences in financial services. Of course, FinTech startups had a big role to play in this and banks are catching up fast.

DBS — one of the largest banks of Singapore and a leading bank in Asia — recently unveiled digibank, India’s first mobile-only bank. I like to call such solutions (Simple, Moven, Atom Bank, etc.) a “bank in an app.” Through digibank, DBS will be offering an entire suite of ground-breaking technologies to allow customers enjoy a whole new way of banking. Needless to say, digibank has no branches and comes with a virtual assistant (think AI, machine learning) and has a personal finance management feature as well. Artificial Intelligence tech for the virtual assistant comes from the U.S. startup Kasisto (startup that comes from the same lab where iPhone Siri has its roots)

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Before we go into further details, I would like to mention a few things in this context. We have been tracking such mobile-only bank players all across the world for a while now and as an individual, I wished to have something like this in India. I know a few groups who have been working on such a proposition in India, but nothing has been launched yet. So, I was pleasantly surprised to see DBS seeing it as a great opportunity to strike first — digibank is a refreshing new take on banking. If you decide to give it try, you will see how the transitions are smooth and very well thought-out. A bunch of small things — like the SMS notifications — show up within the app, even on the iPhone. No OTP required while making payment transactions. Get a virtual Visa debit card as well.

In India, for many decades, paper was the KYC norm. Even thinking about eKYC was out of the question a year ago. RBI had been looking into eKYC to help the digitization of money flow further and has approved some use cases recently. Digibank is one of them. So now, eKYC based on Aadhaar and PAN ID is considered valid to open something like digibank’s e-wallet — add biometric verification to that and you have a savings bank account (that also pays 7%). Isn’t that cool?

I am in discussions with some of the key people involved in building the digibank product. I will have more to tell you later this week, I guess. Watch out for an update to this article.

Here are some of the exciting features offered by digibank:

1. Paperless and signatureless banking in 90 seconds

The service is India’s first paperless, signatureless & branchless bank. You can open a digibank e-wallet in just 90 seconds and can convert it into a digiSavings account easily and effortlessly, with just your biometric authentication (fingerprint) & Aadhaar card at any of the DBS 500 Cafe Coffee Day outlets. With digibank’s e-wallet, users can pay phone bills, electricity bills and make recharges and can also shop at over 1,00,000 online merchants. Once converted to a digiSavings account, customers can avail following services:

  • Account holders can earn a 7% interest from the first rupee, one of the highest in the market.
  • Customers can enjoy unlimited free cash withdrawals at over 200,000 ATMs nationwide.
  • There are no minimum balance requirements.
  • A physical debit card, which comes with the account, can be used across all Visa-enabled online and point-of-sale transactions as well as overseas.

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