It has been more than a month since the demonetisation surprise was dumped upon us by the Modi government. Whether we will be able to see all the long term benefits promised by the government is something that only time will tell, but for now the country is deeply bearing the brunt of the temporary cash scarcity created with 86% of liquid currency out of circulation.
In order to help out the Indian cooperative sector during this cash crunch period, Thenhipalam Cooperative Bank, a primary cooperative bank in Malappuram, Kerala, has come up with its own digital currency app CooPaisa. With the app, the bank is directly taking on the currently visible hegemony of e-payment wallets in the country which requires a smartphone and internet connection to operate.
The CooPaisa mobile application facilitates e-payment service to hundreds of people who have accounts at the Thenhipalam Cooperative Bank. In an effort to provide a smooth experience to its customers, the Malappuram branch of the bank has made arrangements with taxis, local shops, autorickshaws, and fish vendors within a 20 km radius of the bank.
The innovative e-payment payment solution has successfully enabled more than 21, 000 bank customers and 1000 merchandise shops in the bank’s perimeter to make day-to-day purchases or pay for a taxi ride without making use of any currency.
The mobile app can be used by both vendors and customers. In order to pay for a purchase, the customer is required to scan the QR code available at the vendor’s shop and type in the amount to be payed to the vendor. Once typed and okayed, the amount gets instantaneously transfered from the customer’s bank account to the vendor’s bank account. If in the case, the customer is a little apprehensive of the method, the vendor can help in the payment solution without compromising the security. Both the parties will be sent SMS confirmation about a successful transaction.
Since CooPaisa deducts the amount to be paid directly from one’s bank account, it is much easier to use when compared to mobile wallets which need to be constantly filled when they run out of balance. Further, one other point which makes COOPaisa better than the e-wallets is the fact that it can also work without smartphones, by authenticating transactions by using one-time-password (OTP) alone.
For now, Thenhipalam Cooperative Bank hasn’t set any minimum limit for the transaction using the COOPaisa app, and customers can easily make purchases for ₹1 to ₹10,000 per day.
While card payments might prove to be more profitable for retail chains and a number of other establishments, but when it comes to small businesses, the high cost of the device and service tax involved makes it a not so lucrative option to implement. In addition to this, the transaction charges that are applied by the card networks act as a major hindrance for the general public to make a switch from hard cash to card payments. The CooPaisa mobile app manages to solve all these aforementioned problems associated with card payment system all at once.
Currently, the app is available for customers in six panchayats – Chelembra, Vallikkunnu, Pallikkal, Thenhipalam, Munniyur and Peruvallur.
According to Thenhipalam Cooperative Bank, it had originally ended up mooting the CooPaisa mobile app project about 3 months back as they had never even thought about such a contingency at the stage of planning. However, the demonetisation drive immensely helped them in popularising CooPaisa.
The bank predicts that about more than 4000 of its customers will make use of the facility as within just three days of the app launch, it received more than 1,200 downloads.