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Digital-only Banking Makes A Start

Kotak Mahindra Bank’s 811 account promises to re-invent digital banking for the masses to drive financial inclusion and at zero cost

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There was a time, it seems, that to open a bank account you needed tonnes of paper work and many other proofs. But all that is now history if you are on the go and need a quick mobile-only bank account that can function quite well as a normal one.

Kotak Mahindra Bank’s mobile-only bank account, aptly named 811 Account, after the “go-digital” push by the Government of India, post-demonetisation, has made online mobile-bank-account-opening as easy as a breeze. This account can be opened in just a few minutes once you download the app and bung in your Aadhar-based one-time password.

A few weeks ago, gung-ho on the launch of the completely free mobile bank account, Uday Kotak announced that Kotak Mahindra Bank aims to double its customer base to around 16 million in 18 months. At present, it has eight million customers. But, judging by the response to the 811 Account, the target seems quite achievable.

If recent activity on the app is anything to go by, Kotak Mahindra Bank has received a favourable response from all across the country; yes, even from remote corners where normal bank branches are a world away. People are also quickly becoming familiar with all the features and banking-prowess of the 811 Account. Says Mohan Shenoi, chief operating officer, Kotak Mahindra Bank: “People from far and wide are downloading the app, and seem to be quite familiar with the nuances of operating the account, judging by the manner in which they are accessing all the features of the account.”

The new 811 Account boasts all the facilities of a normal bank account, is completely free to use, and comes with a zero-balance feature. It functions like a normal-mobile based app where customers can conduct loads of transactions, including making and receiving payments, and even investing in mutual funds. Online digital transfers, such as IMPS and NEFT, are completely free to use.

Says Shanti Ekambaram, president, consumer banking: “There are three pillars on which the account has been centered such as normal banking transactions, making payments and making investments. We have bundled in over 100 transaction capabilities in the digital app making it a truly digital bank.”

The 811 Account also has all the security features that make online banking safe to use, and comes with a virtual debit card. Some of the offline features, if customers do need the same, will be charged of course, such as a physical debit card, for instance.

The 811 Account comes at a welcome time. Lately, normal banking has been turning into a costly affair, with most banks raising charges on various features, including upping fees for not maintaining minimum balances. With digital banking now completely free, banking customers have an option that cuts out the additional costs, and have a bank account on the go.