In a bid to ease cash crunch and help citizens withdraw cash, ride sharing app Ola has joined hands with State Bank of Patiala and Punjab National Bank to open mobile ATMs. The partnership between the banks and the ride-sharing app will offer select Ola cabs the ability to help people withdraw cash by swiping their debit cards.
Under the scheme, selected Ola cabs with POS machines will be parked at specified busy points in different cities. Banks will provide on-ground executives to enable people withdraw the cash. A person can withdraw an amount of Rs. 2,000 per card.
Ola Chief Operating Officer Pranay Jivrajka informed PTI that the initial response has been tremendous and the company was exploring with banks to expand this service to other cities with cash being dispensed on the go rather than current experiment of cars being parked at a particular busy point.
Ola has partnered with Punjab National Bank (PNB) in Kolkata, and with SBI and Andhra Bank in Hyderabad.
In Kolkata, the week-long activity will continue till end of the month. The POS enabled Ola cabs will visit areas like Chandni Chowk Metro Station, Esplanade Metro, Barabazaar, Salt Lake, Exide and Rashbehari.
Cars carrying POS machine will offer the service in popular areas like KBR Park, JNTU, Inorbit Mall over the weekend in Hyderabad.
Ola is also looking at flagging off the programme in other key cities, including Delhi.
Following the government's move to scrap old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes the banks and ATMs are not being able to cope up with the demonetization effect. To ease up the demonetization effects, petrol pumps, retail bodies like Big Bazaar and services such as Paytm and now Ola has been provided with cash dispensing facilities. Recently, POS machines was introduced at around 3,700 petrol pumps to help citizens withdraw the cash.
Ola, which also has a mobile wallet service, claimed it has seen 1500 per cent growth in recharge of 'Ola Money'. As per Ola, the number of trips paid in cash has certainly gone down. More people are now paying using digital platforms like Ola Money and credit/debit cards.
Today, Maharashtra CM has asked bankers to help realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal for a cashless economy.
However, we believe the process will take time and there is a dire need to set up more mobile ATMs facilities across the country to help citizens withdraw cash.
Let us know what you think about Demonetization and India as a cashless economy in comments.