Bank at home: My experience opening an 'online' savings account with IDFC Bank

4:21 PM

There is much talk nowadays about opening bank accounts online, without the need to visit a branch or signing any paperwork. Banks claim that such accounts can be created in a jiffy, and become operational within minutes. Most accounts need no minimum balance in the basic version and if you choose to upgrade, they come bundled with special deals as well.

I thought of creating one such account myself and one fine day, chose IDFC Bank for this trial. Most banks use Aadhaar details for authentication and IDFC was no exception. I just had to enter some basic details along with PAN and Aadhaar number. Soon after entering the OTP, the account was created. Bank's claim of creating 'a new savings account online in just 4 minutes' was true indeed!

Communication from the bank was a little confusing, but after a bit of R&D, I was able to get my net banking account up an running within the next 5-10 minutes. This account, once setup, can be used as any other basic netbanking account.

Here are the terms and conditions that I had to accept for getting this account:
  • I confirm that I have not opened an account with any other bank using Aadhaar OTP E-KYC authentication*
  • I consent to IDFC Bank conducting E-kyc authentication through Aadhaar OTP
  • I understand that the total deposits into this account is restricted to Rs.100,000 till I meet someone from IDFC Bank.
  • I will be available for a meeting with the bank at a mutually convenient time, in the city I have declared I live in, within 6 months of account opening. If this meeting does not happen, the bank will close the account.
[* This point is somewhat interesting, as nobody seems to clearly say if you can open only one such account. I have not yet tried opening another account to test this.]

If  you are happy with just an account that can be accessed through netbanking, you can start using it but with restrictions as listed above. KYC can be done anytime within 6 months. However, if you need it to be converted to a full fledged savings account, debit card and cheque book will be sent only after the KYC is done and you have deposited a minimum of Rs 25000 in the account. That part of the process was not so smooth for me. Read on...

Even though the account was setup quickly, I had to wait for the KYC process to be completed before I could get the debit card and cheque book. This part took a lot of time, as the bank kept on scheduling and canceling visits by their staff.

After waiting for more than two months, bank's representatives finally met me at work one fine day. The KYC process was very simple and intuitive. They had a hand-held console consisting of a tablet, finger print scanner and a printer (this, I presume, is the same device which they call 'MicroATM'). After entering my Aadhaar number and validating with my fingerprint, the process was done! An acknowledgement slip with details of my account was also printed and handed over to me. As I had requested for an upgrade of the account, I also had to sign a form and give a cheque for Rs 25,000 (QAB needed for upgrading the account).

Process after this was a breeze. I received the debit card and cheque book in about a week's time (that cookie tin in the image above was the card container!). The debit card has a lot of nice offers, and if all the promised features work well, I might end up using this account more frequently than expected. Let me see how it goes!

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