Kochi: An app to revolutionise banking and improve its efficiency is in the offing in India after it has created waves in Singapore. The brain behind it is Hari Sivan, founder and CEO of SoCash, the financial technology firm based in Singapore.
He is making money transactions simpler with a platform that allows basic banking services to be ‘sold’ at small shops avoiding the need for any hardware. As banking goes digital, the ATM and branch infrastructure are being replaced by a network of neighbourhood supermarkets and shops.
“It helps one in need of hard cash while in an unfamiliar environment without ATMs and bank branches,”he said.He was in Kochi to deliver a lecture organised by Kerala Management Association.
“A smartphone-based software enables people to withdraw cash (virtual ATM), open accounts, apply for loans and make cash collection (virtual branch) from anywhere thus avoiding the need to increase branch network. The company aims at making banking more efficient by deconstructing the current branch and ATM networks globally,” said Hari Sivan who hails from Thrissur district and took his BTech degree from REC, Kozhikode (now NIT) and did his MBA in France. He is now in talks with the government authorities in India to launch the app here also.
SoCash has partnered with global banks, including DBS, POSB, Standard Chartered and ICBC, to set up the network in Singapore. “If someone who has signed up with SoCash needs money, he can search for the same in the app in the mobile and identify traders in the locality who can provide the money. A QR code is generated once he applies for it and after the trader scans it, the money is transferred from the account of the individual who needs money to the account of the trader. The trader then gives the currency to the individual. For getting the money from the trader, one needs to have sufficient balance in his/her account,” said Hari Sivan about the mode of operation of SoCash. The company has also secured regulatory approvals and patents in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Hari, a career banker, credits his wife with providing the idea that they eventually took to the country's (Singapore) chief regulator, acquiring not just approval but financial endorsement. They were awarded 2,00,000 Singalore dollars which they have since translated into a thriving financial initiative, supported by most of the island's major banking institutions.
Hari said the trader or shop owner first indicates the amount he can offer as hard cash. For later transactions, Artificial Intelligence will predict this amount in his reserve using an algorithm in the app, making the operation smooth. This amount varies according to the business he undertakes. The prediction makes it unnecessary for the trader to make manual intervention every time. The app manages the transactions, said Hari.