In India, the government has asked banks to encourage customers to use digital payment methods and has advised citizens to avoid cash as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus outbreak. However, India is home to the world’s second largest unbanked population with 190 million unbanked adults according to the World Bank.
The Department of Financial Services has asked states to ensure that bank, cash management and automated-teller-machine operator employees are allowed to work without any hindrance despite the lockdown imposed. The Finance Ministry said the Reserve Bank of India and bank staff as well as employees of cash logistics, ATM maintenance companies and personnel of the National Payments Corporation of India be permitted to function without hurdles, the Bloomberg Quint reports.
India’s Chennai district can expect cash to be rolling in – quite literally – as Indian Bank launches a mobile ATM service amidst the lockdown. The initiative hopes to provide cash services to people while eliminating potential risks due to travelling.
“As an extra mile and in order to serve the people who are at risk of travelling for withdrawal of cash, Indian Bank has taken initiative to deploy its mobile ATM… The mobile van carrying the ATM will be moving around the city and remain in each place for a specific period. This will facilitate the public the convenience to withdraw money near their houses.” the bank said.
The service is currently available in Chennai and will cover five of the 10 stops identified each day for 30-40 minutes between 10am and 2pm.The mobile ATM would correspondingly visit the following villages as per a notified schedule:
The banking and financial sector remains an essential service during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. In the US, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) classifies those who provide consumer access to banking and lending services including ATMs and armored cash carriers as Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers. Likewise, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand determined that financial services are essential services that will continue to operate and remain open, this includes access to ATMs.