Digital Banking Improving the Lives of Rural Romanians
DIGITAL BANKING IMPROVING THE LIVES OF RURAL ROMANIANS
ProxiCash is a social and economic inclusion initiative, increasing bank account ownership and accessibility to bank services. Proxicash’s clients are from rural/small urban areas and among lower income brackets in Romania and the surrounding regions. We supplement the lack of ATMs and Point-of-Sale (POS) systems by integrating our service with the mobile platforms of Romanian banks, allowing customers to use one of 30,000 “virtual branch” partner locations.
Romania has an ATM problem. Most of the machines are in locations with high pedestrian traffic, where multiple banks will install their ATMs in the same catchment area. This causes significant access overlap in populated areas;despite the presence of 11,000 ATMs across the country, there are only about 2,000 locations, predominantly in large and medium-sized urban areas. This situation limits accessibility of banking services for rural and small urban clients. Distance from bank branches, lack of access to ATMs and excessive costs discourage many Romanians from owning a bank account.
Cause of Problem:
Banks will not service low-populated regions due to the high cost of maintaining ATMs, and merchants consider POSs onerous. Due to this, bank accounts are seldom used, especially with services such as Western Union or Moneygram to offer foreign remittance services.
The ProxiCash Solution:
Proxicash is currently developing a system that allows users to withdraw cash and to make payments at one of the 30,000 partner locations using their bank’s mobile platform. This removes the need to install ATMs across low-populated regions.
Phase II of the solution is expected to be in place by 2020, when Proxicash will allow users to make cash deposits using the same process.
In addition to providing the ability to withdraw cash, the ProxiCash solution will allow clients in partner locations to make payments to rural merchants directly from their bank account. This process also benefits merchants who cannot or do not wish to invest in POS systems.
Banks will benefit from the increased accessibility of their products, drawing in new clients through ProxiCash’s partnered vendor network, increasing capital and supporting social and economic growth in previously inaccessible regions.
MORE ABOUT PROXICASH
In locations (especially rural areas) where there are no POSs and the clients are unable to pay with their card (debit or credit), ProxiCash allows them to make payments to merchants directly from their bank account. Merchants will be able to cater to a larger clientele without investing in POs, allowing them increased flexibility in serving their customers and saves them monthly fees associated with debit/credit card POSs.
Clients will also use the bank platform for cash withdrawals, leading to easier mobile user acquisition and increased bank client retention.
In rural areas, where we already have locations, the bank will now be able to make its products available to acquire new clients. This is a huge opportunity to reach the unbanked population, contributing to economic and social inclusion.