will eliminate the need to maintain manual collection sheets
and passbooks, reducing the time of (center) meetings and
thereby increasing the efficiency of field staff. Typically
MFIs-whether computerized at the branch level or not-track
member accounts at the village-level with handwritten
collection sheets and passbooks. The majority of time at the
center meeting is thus devoted to manually updating these
This "bottleneck" is a problem because the poor
usually only have a small window of time in the
morning-before they leave for work-during which meetings can
be held. As a result, an SKS staffer can typically conduct
only 2 center meetings a day. With Smart Cards, the time of
a sangam meeting can be cut in half and a staffer can
greatly increase his client-load. It will work as follows:
staffer will carry a palm-pilot sized Hand-Held Computer
(HHC) to their sangam meetings -- the HHC will download
collection information from the branch office computer,
so no manual collection sheet is required.
the village, each member will be provided with a Smart
Card, which will electronically hold member information
and a record of transactions.
the weekly sangam meetings, each member's Smart Card
will be inserted in the HHC and transactions will be
updated both in the Smart Card and the HHC.
the end of each day's sangam meetings, the staffer
simply uploads the information from the HHC to the
branch computer, and all transactions are uploaded and
all accounts updated.
a read-only HHC is left in the village so that members
can check their account information in the same way that
a person would check account information at an Automatic
Teller Machine (ATM).
In this way,
Smart Cards eliminate the need for manual collection sheets
and passbooks, which will reduce the time of sangam meetings
by one half. SKS staffers can thereby multiply their client
load and the MFI will achieve financial sustainability more
quickly. Additional benefits of the Smart Card include more
flexible financial services and stronger financial controls.