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NFC brings banking to rural India

Citizens living in the eastern Indian state of Bihar are to be issued with contactless ‘e-Shakti’ cards they can use to access virtual bank branches equipped with NFC technology.

Glodyne and NXP
GLODYNE: “Contactless systems have longer lifetimes and are much cheaper to maintain”

NXP has announced it is working with Glodyne Technoserve to provide people living in rural communities in the Indian state of Bihar with access to banking and social welfare facilities for the first time.

Residents of Bihar will use the new contactless ‘e-Shakti’ card as their identity, employment, and bank card. The project aims to improve the purchasing power of Bihar’s large rural population, to stimulate the rural economy and to further develop the region by bringing banking to the unbanked.

Using secure handheld terminals, clerks can set up virtual banks giving access to full banking services in rural areas. The terminals are equipped with NXP’s NFC technology, integrated biometrics, GPS and GPRS to connect directly to the bank’s servers. The NFC reader in the terminal authenticates the user via their contactless card while biometric data stored on the chip provides an additional layer of security.

“Basing card and banking terminals on contactless technology offers numerous benefits,” says Binod Mishra, senior VP at Glodyne Technoserve. “In addition to accelerating transaction speeds, contactless-based systems also require a reduced level of capital expenditure compared to equivalent magnetic-based or contact chip systems. We typically find that contactless systems have longer lifetimes and are much cheaper to maintain, which is essential for states such as Bihar with many rural villages.”

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