Cards 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 records.
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).
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.