Idea #1.23E+4 – Financial Innovation?

Those who read my last blog might recall that I promised to share uniqideas more frequently.

Here comes the next one —

This one has its origin in my quest (dream?) of creative solutions to day-to-day problems. (I feel one of the major bottleneck to innovation is that we get used to workarounds and take the roadblocks as inevitable)

Without further bla bla bla – I think if any bank (or similar entity) comes up with providing credit/debit card terminals (swipe machines) to all the auto/taxi-walas in metros then it is going to be a big hit!


– Increased penetration of their debit/credit cards

– Increased subscriber (I am sure most of the auto/taxi-walas will not have bank a/c.s) base

– Increased branding/reach

Problems solved

– No more issues of paying the right change

– I think, it should not be a big problem to design the device in such a way that it can print a receipt with date/time/fare/vehicle number (is this too much?) – which can further resolve problems of employees faced while claiming reimbursements (and of employers who are worried about lack of supporting documents)

With today’s technological advancement of ICT, i do not see any major implementation issues (please correct me if you think I am Don Quixote 2.0) …


Now, can you visualize the next ad. from MasterCard saying – “Auto richshaw to pick up your girlfriend – Rs. 19.50 … Taxi to movie theater – Rs. 47.50 … Movie tickets for 2 – Rs. 250 … 3 hours of wonderful time together … priceless :-)”

Is Mr. COO & team @ FINO listening?

BTW, I found the Vodafone idea of ‘Chota Credit’ very creative way of marrying microfinance with their existing business … what do you think?


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5 Responses to “Idea #1.23E+4 – Financial Innovation?”

  1. Amita Says:

    Good Idea! Though I think there are few reasons why it might be still some time before this can be realized in India.

    This will very much depend on the credit card penetration in India. I do not have the numbers, but my guess is that the penetration of credit cards in mid-sized and small cities in India is still very low. This might work for taxis, as one can expect customers using taxis as mode of transportation may also have credit cards and the charge is usually higher for one to carry in cash. Even though, in the non-metro cities most of the businesses accept credit cards, it would not be surprising to see a customer paying with bundles of Rs 500 notes (leave small amount payments).

    Then, there is a question of trust. In larger cities in India, based on my experience as fresh as 3 years back, the trust in handing over your credit card to a Rickshaw Waala could be very much lacking.

    Also, there is a cost of using credit card. With already high fuel price and rising meters, who would be willing to bear the cost of service? Well, I am not sure issuing banks will bear it either as the cost of providing this service is already very high and volume dependent.

    I have not pondered about the Rickshaw waala’s point of view here. But, I am sure there will be a good deal of resistance!

    Summing up … The real question is of convenience and we need to ask how much one will be benefited and willing to pay for this convenience.

    But, the way India is growing – nothing seems to be in distant far. Does it?

  2. Amita Says:

    Harsh – you got me thinking and it is more fun to counter argue than agree 🙂

    So, to your point about having the ability to produce receipt for travel reimbursements may not be a great idea. Think of it – many sales and other employees who get travel allowances may happily show Rs 200 towards in-city travel and move around in other cheaper modes of commute (costing Rs 5, may be if it is a bus). They may not like to show receipt, now that it will be available because of card payments. And we are talking of majority here.

  3. Ram Parhi Says:

    I have used credit cards and cash cards in Singapore taxis. It is possible definitely but the question is what is the motivation for implementing? Credit and Debit card transactions have a charge to the subscriber (of terminal) and hence many Indian shops also don’t have them or have a minimum amount for credit card transactions. The auto or taxi owners/drivers don’t want to get into IT issues and would prefer to deal in cash. Same with many travelers as Amit pointed out. So, unless the fares increase significantly that it becomes difficult to carry cash or some regulations come up about using cash/fare cards (as we have in Singapore for example), difficult to see it being implemented.

  4. Nawab Says:

    who ever has posted this idea contact me, my mail id is –

  5. Susannah Cucuta Says:

    Thank you for your post. You have heart and intellegents and I hope this blog does well.

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