NXP semiconductors unveil tech for microbanking

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Bangalore, Oct 4: NXP Semiconductors today rolled out next generation technology enabled solutions to set up a micro bank in every village in India.

Co-inventors of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology and A LittleWorld and providers of the ZERO mobile platform for Inclusive Banking, NXP Computers had deployed the breakthrough pilot project through seven major banks in 450 villages across four states in India.

The initial pilot project has brought full featured banking services to over 45,000 rural Indian citizens right inside their villages, through Customer Service Points equipped with new generation NFC enabled mobile phones, contactless RFID smart cards and integrated biometrics, NXP Semiconductors said in a release here.

For the participating banks, it was an important step that would eliminate the cost and effort to set up physical branches in rural areas, while providing full services for cash deposits, cash withdrawals, utility payments, money transfers, micro-insurance, and cashless payments.

NFC technology was a short-range wireless connectivity technology that enabled consumers to securely exchange and store all kinds of information, simply by bringing two devices close together. Evolving from a combination of contactless identification and networking technologies, NFC enabled convenient short-range communication between an RFID card and an NFC mobile phone, or between two NFC devices.

The release said the smartcard stores the identity of the customer such as name, address, photograph, fingerprint templates and relevant details of the savings or loan accounts held by the issuing bank. The RFID cards being used in the pilot project use the same chip that was embedded in the newly issued e-Passports in more than 35 countries worldwide, including the US, Europe and Singapore.

NXP Semiconductors India Vice-President and Managing Director Rajeev Mehtani said in the release that the pilot project currently being rolled out was in line with NXP's strategy of providing its customers with banking and financing solutions for all segments of the population.

NXP's secure smart card solutions have provided the Indian banking sector with a technology that was superior, futuristic, secure and cost-effective, he said adding that according to RBI statistics, nearly 40 per cent of Indians lack access to formal financial services and were largely 'unbanked.' Mr Anurag Gupta, CEO of A Little World said the pilot projects were carried out by his company with State Bank of India in villages located in some of the most inaccessible and difficult terrains of the country such as Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand, Mizoram, Meghalaya, and remote villages in Andhra Pradesh.

In Warangal, they have worked with Union Bank, Axis Bank, Andhra Bank, State Bank of Hyderabad and Andhra Pradesh Grameena Vikas Bank in a collaborative project between six banks and the Government of Andhra Pradesh, being directly supervised by Reserve Bank of India, he said.

An NFC-enabled mobile phone acted as a branch of the bank by storing the entire database of customers in the village and neighbouring areas within the phone's memory, protected by a very high security PKI chip built into the NFC subsystem on the phone.

The system was fast, secure and reliable, empowering banks to slash costs per transaction and provide multiple services to the customer the release added.


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