Airtel ties up with merchants for mobile wallet service

In the NESA circle, Airtel has entered into partnerships with Subway and Baskin Robbins , among others, who are accepting payments via airtel money

Telecom major Bharti Airtel has tied up with over 60 brands and merchants in the North Eastern states for its recently launched nationwide mobile wallet service -- 'airtel money'.

In the North Eastern States and Assam (NESA) circle, the telecom giant has entered into partnerships with Subway, Baskin Robbins and Curry Pot, among others, who are now accepting payments via airtel money.

"The national rollout of airtel money will fulfil a much required need in the marketplace for a mobile-based wallet service that provides customers with the ability to transact and transfer money at the press of a button," Bharti Airtel chief executive officer NESA George Mathen said.

Under the airtel money service, launched by the company through its wholly owned subsidiary Airtel M Commerce Services Ltd (AMSL), users can load cash on their mobile devices and use it to pay utility bills and recharges, shop at merchant outlets and make online transactions. The service is available across 300 key cities in India.

"We are confident that our customers across Assam and North East will see great convenience in subscribing to airtel money," Mathen said.


Insurers lost over Rs30,000 crore due to frauds in 2011: Indiaforensic study

"The losses caused to the insurance sector are Rs30,401 crore which is 9% of the total estimated size of insurance industry in 2011," Indiaforensic report said

Indian insurance companies have borne a loss of over Rs30,000 crore in 2011 due to different kinds of frauds, a study conducted by Pune-based company Indiaforensic has claimed.

The study cited collusion between the employees of insurers and private persons, document falsification and manipulation in citing cause of death to claim insurance benefits, as some of the reasons behind these frauds.

"The losses caused to the insurance sector are Rs30,401 crore which is roughly 9% of the total estimated size of insurance industry in 2011," the report said.

The total premium income of the insurance industry, comprising life, non-life and health, is around Rs3.5 lakh crore, as IRDA data.

Indiaforensic conducts fraud examination, security, risk management and forensic accounting research. About 86% of the frauds occurred in the life insurance segment while 14% took place in the general insurance sector (which includes risk of loss to assets like car, house, accidents, etc), it said.

According to the study, in last five years the frauds in life insurance sector had more than doubled (103%) whereas the frauds in the general insurance sector rose by 70%.

A total of Rs15,288 crore (Rs13,148 crore in life insurance and Rs2,140 crore in general) was the loss borne by the companies in 2007. In 2011, the loss was pegged at Rs30,441 crore.

"The insurance sector is susceptible to various frauds in the country. There is an urgent need to have strict measures including setting up of a dedicated unit to detect and check frauds in the companies," said anti-fraud and money laundering expert Mayur Joshi, who is founder member of Indiaforensic.

The study said that insurers were defrauding the companies by not disclosing existing diseases by manipulating the empaneled doctor while applying for the policy.

Medical bills forgery is the most common scheme of frauds which affect the health insurance sector the most. In as many as 31% of the total falsified documentation schemes medical bills were the common target of the frauds by the external parties. "The second most common scheme of the frauds in the general insurance space is the non-disclosure of the facts. Travel abroad for the surgery without disclosing it or getting the damaged vehicle insured without disclosing the accident are some of the common schemes," the study said giving examples of frauds in general insurance sector. According to Ashish, a certified fraud examiner and investigator “there is a need to have fraud control units in insurance sector to check losses. The study highlights a worrying trend.”


HDFC Bank launches “Bharosa Gold Loan” for rural markets

Bharosa Gold Loan will offer a loan amount of up to 140% of gold’s valuation

HDFC Bank has launched ‘Bharosa Gold Loan’, a product tailor-made for the rural customer. This is an important step in the Bank’s mission to provide ‘Viable Finance’ to the millions of underprivileged who do not have access to credit lines offered by organised finance channels.

The product will offer a loan amount of up to 140% of gold’s valuation. Over the next six months, the Bank will take ‘Bharosa Gold Loan’ to 1,300 branches in over 950 locations across the country. A vast majority of this expansion will take place in semiurban and rural regions. The objective is to cater to 5 lakh potential rural and underprivileged customers in 10,000 villages, aiming to meet their credit needs and help move into mainstream banking.

As part of the process, the customer is given a detailed valuation certificate mentioning a) the itemised description of gold, b) weight and c) amount lent. This is then signed by the customer and the Bank to ensure complete transparency. Every customer is met by a bank officer to ensure customer education on the loan prior to taking the funds. Finally, the jewellery is sealed in a three-layered tamper-proof manner and put in a vault, in line with the best safety standards. Further, the bank contacts the customer on maturity to help the customer renew the loan or repay. This communication ensures customers do not miss their maturity date and risk sale of their gold in the custody of the bank.

Dhiraj Relli, branch banking head, South-2, said: “While we’re rolling out ‘Bharosa Gold Loan’ nationally, we’ll ensure that it is available in every part of rural Kerala through our rapidly expanding branch network. We’ll use gold loans to bring more customers into mainstream banking, particularly in smaller, developing regions of the state.”

HDFC Bank has a Board-approved plan to bring 10 million families into the banking fold in five years through its ‘Viable Finance’ initiative. As part of this, the Bank has held over 400 grameen loan melas in the hinterland in the last two years, extending credit in the form of two-wheeler loans, commercial vehicle financing, gold loan, etc, to people who require them the most.


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