Rural India had always faced a challenge with the traditional banking system. The savings and business transactions of farmers, labourers, small shop owners, and self-help groups were insufficient for banks to justify the operations cost of setting up branches or ATMs. However, the digital revolution in banking has changed this. With mobile phones accessible to nearly every Indian, payment apps and digital financial services filled this gap, extending financial inclusion to rural parts of the country.

Digital services and online financial service providers are able to reach customers in rural areas because they are built on the cloud, and that gives them the ability to scale technology operations up or down as required. They don’t have to make large investments in buildings, staff or IT infrastructure. The intuitive design and ability to choose the language of interaction makes it easy for users to use apps.

Financial independence for 17 million women in over 25000 villages in six states

Madura Microfinance, a non-banking finance company – microfinance institution (NBFC- MFI) has empowered 17 million women in over 25000 villages in six states by offering loans to women’s SHGs. Madura Microfinance moved to AWS, as they relied on data and analytics to understand their clients and develop the market and business. This also allowed them to develop and end-to-end digital process, with easy sign up on mobile devices and fast approvals through automated rule based processes. Their cloud journey helped them to scale fast, growing 50% year on year after moving to AWS.

Receiving payments, withdrawing cash and enabling livelihood for farmers, labourers, shop owners

For the rural economy, basic financial transactions such as cash withdrawals, sending and receiving payments were difficult, without solutions like Paisa Nikal from Easy Pay. Easy Pay needed a robust platform that could help them scale the vast expanse of India and provide a smooth customer experience. AWS provided this, helping them to scale fast and reduce transaction time by 85.71%. The Paisa Nikal app was a lifeline for labourers, farmers, and shop owners, especially in lockdowns during the COVID -19 pandemic. Paisa Nikal allowed them to collect payments and deposit, withdraw or transfer money without needing to visit a branch. During the lockdown, the app crossed 100,000 transactions in a single day and aims to become a USD 100 million revenue compnay by 2022.

Providing access to government services and financial schemes digitally

Financial inclusion is a key priority for the government, with 70% of citizens located in rural parts of India. Various financial schemes and other government services are delivered through CSCs (Common Service Centres), which are spread across the country. Multiple users in each centre logging on to access the services was a challenge, and CSC also needed to scale, to reach even more people and remote areas. CSC built a solution that brought together AWS content delivery, storage, management, and high-availability. Besides the advantage of scalability and cost-efficiency, this helps them to deliver valuable government services with reliability and fast response time. Since moving to AWS, CSC has experienced reliable uptime in the last three years and continue to positively impact lives all over India.

Digitalisation has truly enabled financial inclusion of excluded groups and those in remote areas, with cloud services simplifying the entire operations ecosystem. AWS is a strong partner on this journey and service providers benefit from the massive economies of scale, pace of innovation, global security certifications, and agility with a pay-as-you-go model. But, the ultimate beneficiaries are numerous Indians, whose lives are changed with access to cloud enabled financial instruments they didn’t have access to earlier.