Banking is a necessity. Where else would we store our hard earned money for safekeeping, or withdraw from when we need to spend it? Digging up the earth and storing money in a deep pit, and doing the digging again to recover is too ancient. Besides, there is always the chance that someone might easily take it from there, or it might suffer damages from the elements. This is also why I like to be updated with the latest in banking, for the convenience it offers.
I don’t remember when was the last time I went to a store to make my phone bill payment. If I want to order some pizza home, I do it online. Utility bills are taken care of online. Banking has evolved to something more than just a means to store your money. This is why I am keen when it comes to new facilities and features to banking. I decided to check out Kotak’s Jifi which offers some new features.
Zero Minimum Balance:
As much as I like saving money, sometimes you have one of those cash crunches at the end of the month (because you had a tiring fortnight that required multiple helpings of eating out, and purchase of new books that you would eventually get down to reading), this helps.
By linking your twitter account with Jifi, you can operate your account via twitter and hashtags. I was skeptical about the security, but they have a dedicated secure server and all the info is via Direct Messages and not tweets, which keeps it private. Most of the available functions are pretty common these days (cheque book request, balance details, etc.). The feature that caught my attention is the ability to find the nearest ATM, when you’re hard pressed for cash and someone won’t accept cards. Just send them a DM and they will send you the address of the available ATMs in your area.
While this is a good facility, I don’t see myself using it much out of fear that someone may see my details on the cell. I know that I can protect my cell with a password, but I use it frequently which makes a password tedious for me.
When friends or family join Jifi via a referral from you, you get bonus points that can be later redeemed as 1 INR worth each point. Based on a maximum of 25 Referrals per year, you can collect (and redeem) 6250 INR worth points. Which is an added bonus.
This isn’t a feature that is new or limited to Jifi. Different banks have different manners of executing this. In Jifi you get 25 points for transactions above 500 INR, with a maximum limit of 1800 points a year. So this is 1800 INR bonus for us, which is nice.
This offers the same facility to operate your bank account via mobile (as is the norm with banks these days). For reasons mentioned in Social Banking, I will not be using this.
Platinum Debit Card:
This is helpful when you want to make large purchases (like electronics) or are travelling and might need cash. The card gives you a higher transaction limit by which you can withdraw 50000 INR daily, or spend 2 Lakh via swiping for purchasing. Additionally there is insurance for card loss and misuse, so that adds a later of security.
While the account is easy to open, and is done online via a friend’s referral or through the Kotak Jifi website (https://www.kotakjifi.com), it is currently limited to select 12 cities. Now this is what prevents me from opening an account, since my city is not a part of the list (Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Pune). In this case I think that they should have started with more cities and covered a larger customer base. They’ll be adding more cities soon, so will have to wait for when I can get an account.
Since it is free to open an account (and you get joining bonus points), I am looking forward to open an account when I can.