On the solemn occasion of India’s 75th Independence Day, another quiet revolution has been sparked and gathering steam. This revolution is to set the common man free from being excluded by the financial system, due to lack of access or financial literacy. mBnk Phygital Financial Marketplace is a digital marketplace that combines with on-ground presence of India’s vast retailer network.
It is a one-stop solution for consumers and retailers to access BFSI services including micro-ATM(mATM), Aadhaar Enabled Payment Service(AePS), Domestic Money Transfer(DMT), Prepaid debit cards, mobile and wallet recharges, micro-loans, insurance and other investment savings plans. mBnk is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur, Shashank Joshi, who has a 27-year successful track record of launching IT and IT-enabled financial start-ups including My Mobile Payments Ltd.
In November 2020, mBnk announced a partnership with the leading digital transaction platform, BlocPal International Inc to digitally connect retailers in India and empower them to provide essential financial and banking services to their communities. Speaking on the occasion, Shashank Joshi, Founder and CEO, outlined his goal for mBnk, “There exists a huge gap in the ratio of need versus fulfilment of financial services to reach the farthermost corner of ‘Bharat’. While the current pandemic also brought social and economic life to a screeching halt, mBnk aims to give businesses and consumers a fresh start.”
“This Marketplace App will offer a great stimulus to our Retailers and Distributors, who will now be empowered to offer a host of services to its end consumers with great ease. mBnk’s Marketplace App offers all our stakeholders the Freedom To Make A Choice thus creating endless opportunities for all. Our Trade Distribution Channel will have multiple service provider options to choose from, while customers would be able to experience a wide range of services via a unified platform.”
mBnk’s objective to offer a last mile connectivity to the ‘bottom and middle of the pyramid’ in India, partnered by the ease of access and trust offered by the neighbourhood Retailer will usher in a new wave of financial inclusion. The last-mile connection shall be offered by 50,000 digitally-enabled small retailers across cities, towns and villages in India. “Through our previous ventures, we understand the retailer space extremely well, perhaps better than most others in this space. That gives us the confidence that this service shall be a win-win-win for consumers, retailers and the financial system,” Mr. Joshi further added.
Of a total population of 1.4 billion people in India, 900 million live in rural or semi-urban areas. The country persistently remains a cash economy with a huge addressable market of 840 million people either unbanked or underbanked. Access to banking services in India continues to be challenging with supply of only 22 ATMs per 100,000 adults in India. By comparison, the United States has 174 ATMs per 100,000 adults, Russia has 161, Brazil has 105, and China has 97.
The ticket size of each transaction on mBnk could be as low as Rs 100 per month, which is currently not possible on traditional platforms and thus leaves out a large number of consumers. Besides, the transaction could be routed through any of the intermediaries connected through the mBnk platform. “The most satisfying aspect of our venture is that a common man now has the opportunity to participate in the ongoing financial inclusion program of the Government in a big way. We not only provide them access, but we also provide them with a choice of the service providers and all this within the transaction size of their choice. This would be mBnk’s adaptation of ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ for an Atma Nirbhar Bharat,” added Mr. Joshi.