The business of banking interests me very much. I'm no banker, but I watch my finances like a hawk. I fondly remember upgrading from my vanilla savings account from the schooldays to a premium "restricted entry" salary account when I started going to office. I would think, smugly, that I was one of the precious few who had an account at a fancy bank with fancy privileges like zero-minimum-balance and cheque books at my beck and call. But Kotak Jifi snapped me out of my reverie in a jiffy!
Kotak Mahindra's latest offering, the Jifi account, is raising eyebrows, and I suspect, will herald a new era in commercial banking. Before you ask me why I've taken to prophesying when I cannot even read tarot cards, let me tell you what Jifi is bringing to the world:-
- Twitter Banking!!!
Yes, you heard that right! Jifi will let you tweet for just about anything - knowing your account balance, ordering a cheque book or even receiving your netbanking PIN!
"Oh, but that's foolhardy! Why would I want the world to know of my meagre savings?"
Did I hear you say that? Fret not! Your confidential details will only be sent you (@yourTwitterHandle) in a DM (direct message).
"Mmm... I'm starting to get interested. Tell me more."
I shall, my friend!
- Money-making without investing real money!
"Whoa!? Did I read that right?"
Stop rubbing your eyes! This is not some kind of lottery. It's just how Jifi rolls. For every Facebook friend you invite to join your "Jifi circle" (and if s/he joins), you get "social points". And this is not it! You can get more points just by being "social" on FB and liking or commenting on Kotak's FB pages and their posts there.
"Hmm... But where's the money?"
Patience, my friend! These social-points can be converted to "transaction-points" which can be used to buy loads of cool stuff online (think of that exotic vacation you've been lusting after on Make My Trip or that swanky speaker system you found on ebay).
"But there's no way I'll collect those many points!"
Of course, you will! Begin on a positive note. Even if you fall short of points, you can ask your Jifi-circle friends to donate you some! This brings me to another unique feature I haven't seen any other bank provide:-
- Loyalty-Point Transfer
I can't think of ANY other bank account that lets me transfer my loyalty points to another person! Jifi lets you donate (and by the same token, receive :-) ) the convertible "social-points" to fulfil online purchase requirements. That trip to Honolulu is no more a distant dream! ;-)
"Alright! I'm sold! How do I get a Jifi account?"
All you need is a Facebook account! But remember, you NEED an FB account to sign up. This is probably the only limitation of Jifi. For all of you who've frozen your Facebook, and the social-media-averse citizens, this is bad news. The good news is that I'm going to tell you some more things that will get you all pumped up to join FB (even if you do so only to get a Jifi account).
Like many other accounts, Jifi too allows you to keep your account empty (because they know you spend all of your monthly pocket money in the 1st week! ;-) ). But this account comes with a rider - it isn't interest bearing :-( .
"Hey, I'm not going to let my wealth erode against inflation!"
And, THIS is where Jifi shows its flexibility:-
- Automatic Term-Deposit Feature
The ActivMoney facility automatically makes interest-earning term-deposits out of any money in excess of Rs.25,000. So you won't be poor if you've decided to save! :-)
"Sounds nice. But I'm no Chartered Accountant! How will I handle all of this money-stuff flowing about?"
You won't have to! Jifi will watch your money for you.
- Money-Tracking for Free!
With MoneyWatch you will be able to manage everything from bill-payments to income-tax calculation. You can also get over 30 types of reports to analyze your finances! These awesome features are free for the 1st year and you get a basic version of this facility if you do not wish to pay after the free-period.
While I'm telling you the unique bits, let's not forget a couple of basic features - mobile apps to handle your finances and look out for interesting offers; and a Platinum debit card that comes with lost baggage insurance & air accident insurance. Jifi sure knows you like to travel ;-)
With Jifi, Kotak has delivered a cracker. In its cool social-banking avatar, it is aggressively and exclusively cornering teenagers and college-goers. "Youngistan" will now laugh all the way to the bank (or perhaps tweet about it... LOL)!