State Bank of India is aggressively trying to grab a piece of the business in the digital commerce space.
The country's largest lender on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding with Amazon to develop payment and commerce solutions for customers and small businesses.
SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya said the bank was exploring ways to fulfill the aspirations of millions of customers. “The partnership with e-commerce platforms like Amazon would give a fillip to e-commerce in India and brings lots of value to our retail and SME (small and medium enterprises) customers.”
The SBI chief said the bank was open to similar tie-ups with other e-commerce players. It might soon sign an agreement with Snapdeal in Kolkata. It is also ramping up card products and payments solutions towards this end.
“The bank is working on ways to enrich customers’ payment experience and opening up the window of e-commerce to our SME customers. E-commerce as a sector is at an inflection point and SBI stands with all stakeholders, including retail customers, SMEs clientele, and logistics companies, in facilitating this change,” she said.
SBI will also provide loans to SME customers while supply products, to Amazon to help them increase their operations. "Their products are very good but they are not able to scale up because they don’t have that kind of financing. We will look at financing them,” Bhattacharya said.
The bank might also look at selling its financial products on Amazon, she said, without giving details.
Bhattacharya said SBI has been investing in developing digital capabilities for a stronger information technology backbone, systems and products. SBI has a huge customer base but not many use an e-commerce platform. There is a need to develop product that will hook them for using electronic commerce.
Last week, SBI introduced contactless debit cards and SBI Signature contactless credit cards for quick, hassle-free payments at merchant outlets. Contactless cards use near-field communication technology to make payments by waving or tapping the card near a contactless reader, instead of swiping. These cards would replace cash at retail establishments.
In the first half of this month, SBI and NPCI launched the State Bank RuPay Platinum Debit Card to target the affluent by offering a range of value-added benefits. The offering also provides personal accidental death and a permanent total disability insurance cover of Rs 2 lakh.