New Delhi: At a time when the spread of COVID-19 has made social distancing a buzzword, banks have increased their reliance on social media to engage with their customers — may it be for disseminating information or for dispelling their boredom. The government imposed a 21-day countrywide lockdown beginning March 25 to check the spread of coronavirus, and extended it twice, prompting business entities including banks to get innovative on social media.
Among the noteworthy initiatives by banks during the lockdown, HDFC Bank came out with a scheme to help its customers find their hidden artistic talent.
“Tired of staying home and having nothing to do? HDFC Bank Fingage presents The Art Project, to give you a #BreakFromBoredom! Unlock your creativity during the lockdown & stand a chance to win exciting prizes!,” tweeted the bank, trying to engage its customers during the lockdown.
Punjab National Bank (PNB) has come up with a contest on the Mother’s Day with a catchy slogan, “For her, you will always remain a child.”
Since the lockdown has made online banking more vulnerable to fraudsters, several banks are regularly warning their customers against possible frauds.
“Beware of fraudsters who pose as bank officials and scam people by gaining remote access to their mobile phone screens through an app. Inform us when you identify a scamster through e-mail: [email protected] & [email protected],” tweeted SBI.
Similar warnings were issued by a few other lenders.
“Fraudsters find new ways to target innocent people. And this time, they are targeting through banking and other payments apps to steal your hard-earned money. Be careful and keep following the #PNBKaFunda to learn the ways to avoid them,” PNB tweeted.
Another public sector major Canara Bank warned its customers in a tweet, “Don’t get hooked by #Phishing! Always check before you click on any links. Be cautious about opening any attachments or downloading files received via email/sms , if source is unknown.”
A few banks have also come up with ‘lockdown offers’ for their customers.
HDFC Bank offered discount on purchase of jewellery on Akshaya Tritya with a promise that part of the money would go to PM Cares Fund.
“This Akshaya Tritya, buy jewellery from the safety of your home, with HDFC Bank Credit Cards! With every purchase above Rs.10,000, we will contribute Rs. 100 to the PM Cares Fund and you earn 5X Reward Points,” HDFC Bank tweeted.
Union Bank of India has offered discount on purchase of medicine.
“In this difficult time, it’s easy to save some cash on your pharmacy bill. Just use #UnionBankofIndia cards at your nearest Apollo Pharmacy Store to get up to 15% off,” UBI said in a tweet.
SBI gave a similar offer to its customers: “Get a health check from the comfort of your home with Apollo 24/7. Earn great discounts on key lab tests via YONO SBI app.”
Some banks are telling customers how they are tweaking services to suit the times.
Union Bank of India informed its customers that for the time being there would be no charge on withdrawal of funds from ATMs of other banks.
“To ease the lockdown burden, Debit card ATM withdrawals from any other bank ATMs will be free of charge till 30th June 2020,” the bank said in a tweet.
Banks are also making sure people in rural areas do not crowd the branches for direct benefit transfers.
The country’s largest lender SBI informed that the second installment of Rs 500 had been deposited in the accounts of female Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana account holders under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.
It also provided a schedule for withdrawal of funds by them so that social distancing norms are not breached.