Managing financial services during lockdown

Online banking

A global pandemic came knocking at our doorstep unannounced and life as we know it, came to a halt.

To help contain the spread of this virus, literally, everything had to be closed down and people had to start working from home.

However, payment platforms saw a sudden spike in some specific categories of transactions. These were bill payments, recharges, money transfers and those who provided services like medicine, food, and groceries also had a spike.

People began to rely on digital transactions and it helped them greatly to cope with this pandemic. For this reason, the government has had to ease up the banking facilities to ensure that their services are not disrupted.

So, if you’re wondering how to manage your financial services, we’re here to help you figure that out. Let’s get right to it!

Banking Services

Do not worry if you are unable to maintain your average monthly balance in the account. Banks will not impose any penalties or charge for lower balances in the account. There will also be no charges if you withdraw cash from the ATM as well!

Since banking falls under essential services, it’s no surprise they are kept open even during a lockdown. You have the option to go to your bank’s branch if it’s really urgent or important.

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Activating Online Banking

There are people who will hesitate to make large transactions digitally, for them the bank is the only way to get it done.

To minimize this fear, customer service is reassuring people that it is safe to do all their transactions, however large or high-valued, via the internet. For those who have never used online banking before, you can activate it just  by using your debit card and registered mobile number.

Not just that, you can activate net banking yourselves by using your bank’s website as well. You can also install it on your smartphone by downloading it from the app store.

The convenience of Online Banking

You can avail of all the banking services you normally do in the branch, directly on their website. Credit card payment, bill payments, recharges, ordering a new card or checkbook, sending or receiving money, etc are all available on the website.

Depending on the bank, the apps may have some restrictions. Some banks may not allow you to block a card through their app.

While other apps you might not even have the option to request account statements. That being said, all the other basic services are still available on all apps.

Finally, some banks can put restrictions on the value of the funds to prevent fraud. You might only be allowed to transfer a specific amount from your account.

Insurance Services

Even insurance companies are easing up and implementing a grace period for their policyholders. This grace period allows an additional 30 days to the policyholders to renew their policies,  of course upon the client’s request.

The same grace period has been applied to health insurance policies as well. They are also encouraging the use of digital channels to their customers. Some are offering Whatsapp services and mobile apps where the policyholder can place service requests.

Do It All Online!

Insurers are now also allowing their customers to change their update details, access policy information, change any standing instructions etc. Private insurers are letting annuity customers verify their existence, thus making sure to get their funds into their accounts digitally.

Buying either a life or health insurance policy in the middle of a pandemic is now made possible through online services. Keep in mind that whether the policy can be issued online or not, completely depends on past medical history and on its value.

Some insurance companies are taking measures to issue high-value policies without the need for medical tests. It sounds like the best time to get some insurance, no?

Making Things Easier

As for life insurance, the companies are looking at income and credit score. This shows that people with better financial position and health will obviously choose to take care of themselves.

Some health insurance companies have started to rely on doctors’ consultation. They believe that customers are more open with a doctor and so the results they get are better than mere medical tests!

Now you can also lodge claims digitally, thanks to some private companies. However, there are some other companies that will still demand to see the  physical copy of the documents and claim form.

Health insurance claims have become cashless in-network hospitals. In most cases, you can submit your claim even if you’re admitted to a non-network hospital. All you have to do is send your physical copies of reports to either a third-party administrator or the insurer.

NPS and Mutual Funds

If you are interested in mutual funds and want to invest in them then you can do that through your bank. Your advisers can also call you up for any service request.

Customers who are using digital channels can benefit from this too.

Luckily, there are several options for those who are first-time investors  looking into mutual funds.

There are multiple mobile apps you can use like Groww, Scripbox, Zerodha Coin, etc.

Formalities like KYC, which stands for know your customer, can be done by using these apps. You can start investing right away while your KYC is being processed, which usually will take a week at most.

For NPS, National Pension Schemes, existing customers can easily continue investing online. New accounts can also be opened online on the National Pension Trust website.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, we’d like to say that even though most of your financial services may not be digital, it’s the best option available right now. We hope the information we provided helps you to navigate through these troubled times and put you at ease.

New and first-time users might be feeling a bit lost, but we assure you, everything is made super easy now, and going paperless is the best way. Remember to stay safe and maintain social distancing!