Visa Joins Five Indian Banks and TSYS for Saral Money Launch (Jan. 17, 2013)
Jan. 17, 2013
Saral Money, a project India’s government launched in late 2012 to gradually extend basic financial services to India’s 400 million unbanked consumers, is gaining momentum through the participation of Visa Inc., five major Indian banks and payments processor TSYS, which is providing biometric technology to authenticate users who sign up for the service. Saral Money, rolling out initially in New Delhi and the National Capital Region, enables consumers to link an instant Visa prepaid account to their unique identification number issued by the government and use their fingerprint to authenticate details, such as the amount of the purchase or merchant type.
Participating consumers must present a government-issued letter with the individual’s 12-digit “Aadhaar” identification number at designated merchant locations and bank branches equipped with TSYS technology to link the ID number to their fingerprint to receive a Visa prepaid card. Cardholders may use the Visa card to receive government benefits, load cash and make purchases, recharge mobile phone balances, and transfer funds to other Aadhaar program participants, currently numbering around 210 million. The Indian government initiated the Aadhaar national identification program in late 2010 and plans to expand it to 600 million consumers by 2015. Bank participants include Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Indian Overseas Bank and the State Bank of India.
Visa plans to “continue to invest” in the project as part of its push to reach more “underserved customers” worldwide, said Darren Parslow, Visa’s global head of processing. For TSYS, the project illustrates its commitment to “people-centered payments,” said Amit Sethi, TSYS managing director for India and Southeast Asia.