“If you regularly check your credit history, you could spot mistakes if any, and you can contact your bank, or lender, to correct them,” said Mohan Jayaraman, MD, Experian Credit Information Company of India Pvt Ltd speaking at a seminar on financial literacy held by Moneylife Foundation in Goa. But more important than looking for mistakes, one should look at the number of credit enquiries been made, said Mr Jayaraman. An enquiry shows the names of the credit institutions that have performed a search on you based on your credit/loan application. Multiple enquiries may affect your credit score; therefore, one should avoid applying for a loan to multiple financial institutions.
Another important reason for reviewing your report regularly is to check if there are any enquiries which are not made by you. Such enquires may indicate that someone may have forged your documents and applied for a loan. By reviewing your credit report regularly, you could prevent identity theft.
The press and the media have ignored RuPay, which can bring about a revolution in India. But the ordinary bank customer can help spread the good word
The press and the financial and business channels have strangely consigned a great achievement of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to the inside pages and the “also ran” mentions at the end of news bulletins. It is the official launch of India's RuPay payment gateway and card which, except China, no other country, not even the European Union (EU) and Japan, has been able to start successfully.
The press and the media have not fully understood the implications of starting RuPay. Most importantly, it spells the beginning of the end for yet another dependency by India. In this case, it is freedom from the combined services offered by Visa, MasterCard and American Express, as well as the highly secretive payment processing companies like First Data Corp, Total System Services and others.
This short article does not provide the space to fully explain the extremely intricate and often hyper-secretive details of the payment processing industry. Suffice it to say that this is the next logical step to what RBI and its wholly-owned subsidiary, the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) has already done to establish control of ATM switches in India.
RuPay has, obviously, not amused the competition and here is why.
The payment processing industry had its roots in an attempt, soon after the Second World War, by governments, especially the US through the Federal Reserve, to exercise a greater control over their own economies. Very quickly, this became a focused attempt to control the economies of other countries too.
Ensuring that everybody else’s payment processing industry did not survive was and is par for the course. Eurocard and JCB are just a few that fell by the wayside, were swallowed up, or were not able to really prosper.
The first signs of an attempt to bring India into the ambit of the US-backed payment processing industry came around 2000 AD, a couple of decades after the arrival of cards like Diner’s Club, Gold Pass and some others. Initially these were for very limited Indian rupee payment-only kind of transactions, to dovetail with the requirements of foreigners who required their plastic to work in India. In just a decade after that, the grip of the US-backed payment processing industry, could be seen all over India.
Very soon, large segments of the Indian population, the swelling middle class and more, simply could not do without their plastic fix. Luckily, RBI saw the signs, and was able to control the ATM business before it grew too big. Today, our ATM business is Indian controlled and is setting benchmarks globally for technology. (Counterfeit currency is a separate issue.)
Around 2000 AD, the small tech company that I founded got involved with the US payment processing industry; at that stage it was variously explained to me how global dominance was an integral part of any aspect of the payment processing industry in the US.
I recall interviewing a best breed urbane youngsters in India with brilliant software skills around that time, who had no clue about plastic money, let alone possess plastic from their banks. Today, they are domain experts, and even a school student uses plastic.
This is not just a question of the few million dollars in fees that the payment processing industry collects. It is all about controlling the economy, controlling the float, by-passing the taxation system, keeping track of fiscal information of all sorts, and in short, running the money in somebody else’s country.
It is Economics 101 for some, mystery for others, but dangerous all the same.
In addition, control over domestic and international transactions is where the real deep danger lies. All this, and more, was explained to us when we were working for the US payment processing industry.
Some of this was obviously shared with the domestic market. It has been a convoluted decade, moving from this level of lack of knowledge on the subject, to the pre-eminent position where India now has RuPay.
Every trick in the book, and more, was used to prevent India from developing RuPay—outright sabotage of efforts to go to RuPay (previously IndiaCard), co-opting those who would challenge RuPay (SBI Cards is just one example); even now attempting to portray the payment processing business as something that Indians cannot handle on their own.
Next door, the Chinese were moving ahead rapidly too. With China Union Pay (CUP), they extended their sphere of influence well past their domestic borders into the Pacific, the Central Asian countries, Africa and were on hand when the switch was pulled on Iran.
That CUP has a head-start of a few years on RuPay, and why, is something on which a book can be written—and which will make some of the multi-lakh scams look like so much loose change.
It behooves you as an Indian to find out from your bankers about RuPay—and see how you can be part of it. A rapid build-up of critical mass of users will be essential and very soon; in months probably.
An increasing number of ATMs from some banks—SBI, BoI, UBI, Axis Bank, BoB amongst them—already transact RuPay. Point of Sale machines are already in position, and the number is increasing.
Go to your bank today and find out about their involvement with RuPay you owe this to your country, and to the sovereign strength of the Indian economy as a whole and the rupees in your wallets and purses.
I do not want to be melodramatic, but the roots of slavery are born out of external forces controlling your domestic economy: it is as simple as that. That is the bottomline as far as the global payment processing industry is concerned. And in today’s India, the stakes are very high, and we need to be part of this shake-up.
You can do much more than what some short article tucked away in an inside page can probably manage. Spread the word on RuPay; go ask your bank manager today.
Previous articles which may throw more light on the subject are:
(Veeresh Malik had a long career in the Merchant Navy, which he left in 1983. He has qualifications in ship-broking and chartering, loves to travel, and has been in print and electronic media for over two decades. After starting and selling a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing.)
The Chief Election Commissioner Dr SH Quraishi highlighted the menace of paid news in the Moneylife Foundation’s event, “Democracy at Crossroads—Need for Electoral Reforms”
“The Election Commission demands paid news, publishing or even abetting it, should be made an electoral offence. All political parties unanimously engage in the trend and hence nobody wants to stop it,” said Dr SY Quraishi, India’s Chief Election Commissioner (CEC). He was speaking at the seminar titled “Democracy at Crossroads—Need for Electoral Reforms” organised by Moneylife Foundation and V Citizens Action Network (VCAN) on Tuesday.
Dr Quraishi said, “Newspapers and television channels offer ‘packages’ for politicians for their election coverage. All parties participate in the process. Paid news must be made a punishable offence. Any candidate taking the help of paid news to manipulate voters must be jailed for two years. In fact all parties are also victim of the menace of paid news.” He was referring to the tussle created when the same positive election coverage packages are bought by different political parties.
The CEC also highlighted the case of two people in Uttar Pradesh, whose candidature was cancelled because of their involvement with paid news.
Paid news also accounts for a significant part of election expenses for parties and candidates. The Election Commission had earlier said that it would keep tabs on suspicious news articles and political parties’ advertisements to estimate poll expenses.
In the recently concluded state polls, several instances of paid news were detected. According to the Election Commission, 626 cases of paid news were reported during the assembly polls. Of these, 523 suspected cases were reported from Punjab and notices were issued in 339 cases.
Union minister for information and broadcasting, Ambika Soni, had said at a recent event that the incidence of paid news has gone up since 2009. She also expressed concern about the mushrooming of media schools, which do not seem to have any guidelines about reportage in place.
Already, a Group of Ministers (GoM) has been appointed to take action on the recommendations of the Press Council of India’s report on paid news. The next meeting is scheduled to be in September.
Commenting on the role of the media during elections, Dr Quraishi informed that, “We have instructed our officers that if they see any news on television showing misbehaviour or violating the Moral Code of Conduct by any candidates or any other offence, then treat it as a formal complaint. This is working beautifully. In fact, in the past, we have taken action after such reports were out.”