| ICICI Prudential executive director N.S. Kannan (left) with ICICI Bank general manager B. Madhivanan in Calcutta on Friday. Picture by Kishor Roy Chowdhury
Calcutta, April 7: ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co has introduced an easy payment solution for its annuity buyers targeting a 30 per cent share of private pension market.
In association with ICICI Bank, the insurer has launched a card, called ICICI Bank-ICICI Prudential Life Annuity Card. Annuitants can withdraw their monthly pension from the ATMs of ICICI Bank as well as any other ATMs on Visa network by using this card. It can also be used like any debit or credit cards to make payments at merchant establishments.
'One doesn't need to have an account with ICICI Bank to join the card programme and there is no joining fee,' said ICICI Prudential executive director N.S. Kanan.
However, if a cardholder uses any other bank's ATM to withdraw the money, the user will have to pay a fee of Rs 20-25 per withdrawal.
Under the current regulations, those who have bought a pension plan from a life insurance company can withdraw on maturity only one-third of the accumulated corpus. With the rest, they will have to buy annuities from any one of the insurance firms. ICICI Prudential is offering a basic annuity rate of 8.5 per cent.
'The monthly pension is paid to the beneficiary through cheques, which involves a lot of hassles for the pensioner. One doesn't get the cheque on the same day the insurer issues it. Its clearance takes another day, if not more. Every month, a pensioner will have to go to the bank to check whether the money has been credited. Our annuity card aims to bridge this gap,' Kanan said.
ICICI Bank is planning to launch mobile phone-based payment solution service, M-Cheque. It is running under trial in Mumbai for which the bank has tied up with some 100 merchant outlets.
B. Madhivanan, general manager, ICICI Bank, said, 'The details of the cardholder are encrypted in the SIM of his or her mobile phone. When an M-Cheque holder buys some goods, the buyer sends an SMS to the merchant. The merchant forwards it, along with the value of the purchase, to a server of Little Wonder, a Mumbai-based firm providing the technology for this project.'
Little Wonder sends the call to ICICI Bank's server, which upon verifying the buyer's personal details and account position, sends the message to Little Wonder. The call is now forwarded to the buyer for his or her verification of the order. If it is ok, the deal is done and payment is made by the bank to the shop.