FSS (Financial Software and Systems), a global leader in digital payments and processing, recently announced the launch of eFinclusiv AEPS 2.0 to strengthen last mile banking services. Amidst the transforming dynamics of the global pandemic, FSS eFinclusiv AEPS 2.0 is aimed at enabling digital financial service providers offer secure, low-cost financial tools that expand the usage of digital banking products across diverse customer groups, and moderate and low-income segments in particular.
The wide scale social and economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic are providing a strong incentive for citizens, business, and governments to pursue digital solutions more actively. Leading incumbent banks, as well as neo banks such as India Post Payments Bank, have deployed FSS eFinclusiv AEPS to roll-out cost-efficient distribution infrastructure and provide customers easy access to bank accounts. Across banks, between April and May, transactions have recorded a 500% growth, as customers in the remotest hamlet of the country can avail doorstep banking services eliminating the risk of stepping outside to visit a bank branch. FSS eFinclusiv 2.0 takes a significant step forward by introducing new features for digital financial service providers to deliver innovative services, rapidly expand scale and improve operational efficiencies.
Speaking on the launch, Sathish N, Deputy CPO, FSS, stated: “FSS eFinclusiv (AEPS) is the backbone powering banking services for multiple digital financial service providers in the country. The new innovations available in Version 2.0 are designed to strengthen last mile cash-in, cash-out networks and improve efficiencies in delivering essential banking services to 1.3B Indians. In a fast-growing digital financial services market, capabilities built into FSS eFinclusiv AEPS 2.0 would enable a step-change improvement in customer acquisition, transaction rates, depository volumes and agent cost of operations.”
To improve transacting ease and convenience for customers, FSS eFinclusiv AEPS 2.0 has added support for UPI, India’s most popular payment instrument, to withdraw funds. Customers do not have to carry cards or recall their Aadhaar number anymore. Banking correspondents outfitted with a micro-ATM initiate a withdrawal request on behalf of the customer by entering the UPI virtual private address and PIN. Customers can view their bank account balance before confirming the payment, and the money is instantly debited from their account, giving them a real-time view of their available finances.
For digital financial services providers, revenues are closely interlinked with funds being available in customer accounts and fee earned from the subsequent movement of e-value within the ecosystem. Pull Money enabling robust account-to-account transfers, improves depository volumes and catalyses transactions on the bank network. As an example, an employee in a small garment factory could have a salary account with Bank A that does not have a wide ATM and merchant network. The customer uses the Micro-ATM network of Bank B to withdraw cash from her salary account, as it is closer to her place of work. With 'Pull Money', rather than withdraw the entire amount, agents can encourage customers to move part of the monies to Bank B's account. Digital financial service providers benefit from higher depository volumes and additional float income.
Banking correspondent ecosystems form a crucial link to the digital payments’ economy. FSS eFinclusiv AEPS Hub, a services orchestration module, is designed to alleviate operational complexities that banking correspondent networks currently face in establishing a relationship with multiple banks. Rather than establish one-on-one relationship with each bank, FSS eFinclusiv AEPS Hub enables banking correspondent aggregators to connect to multiple banks through a single technical integration, and a single service relationship, resulting in substantive savings in integration costs. Enterprise banking correspondent firms can exploit multi-bank relationships and interoperability built into the AEPS network to route transactions along the most optimal route based on a combination of costs and service experience.
Whilst AEPS is an interoperable payment network, agents on the field deploy apps from multiple banks to take advantage of varying commission rates offered by banks. OnePay, a thin white-labeled Android-based Micro-ATM app, enables agents to conduct transactions on behalf of any bank using a single terminal application. This eases cash management and eliminates overheads related to terminal management and maintenance and app certification for agent aggregators. All transactions are directed to the eFinclusiv Hub for routing to any bank affiliate for authorization, based on a set of pre-configured algorithms.
FSS eFinclusiv 2.0 services are available on a licensed as well as a SaaS model on FSSNeT, FSS private cloud. FSSNeT supports pre-integrated connectors to bank systems and the AEPS network enabling digital financial service providers to onboard in less than three weeks. The FSSNeT environment is PCIDSS 3.2 certified with built-in infrastructure and application level redundancies to support 24X7X365 operations for business continuity.