Postal officials in rural India have opened at least 11 million accounts that enable consumers to draw wages using biometric smart cards, according to reports and government data. The cards are part of the country's National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, which provides 100 days of employment for rural adults willing to do manual labor for minimum wage. The cards use fingerprint templates to authenticate users who want to withdraw wages at banks and post offices. The scheme paid more than US$2.5 billion (1.6 billion euros) in wages over the last year. Designed for illiterate consumers, the scheme is helping to spread electronic-banking services to rural India, Prathima Rajan, an India-based analyst for United States-based research firm Celent LLC, tells CardLine Global."These cards work as ID cards as well as electronic pass books," she says.

Subscribe Now

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the payments industry

14-Day Free Trial

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the industry