How SBI YONO digital bank system that will replace SBI debit cards works: A user experience

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How SBI YONO digital bank system that will replace SBI debit cards works: A user experience

Earlier in the day, a report from PTI suggested that the State Bank of India is now planning to discard the debit card over the course of the next few years. Instead of the plastic debit cards, SBI wants its customers to use its digital services to make transaction and payments. SBI's YONO service has been around for a while and the bank wants its customers to use the service for cash withdrawals as well as merchant payments.

The idea sounds exciting on paper but will it work in the real world? After all, when it comes to moving almost 90 crores customers using debit cards to a digital system, it should be reliable and be able to deliver consistently. Hence, India Today Tech talked to someone who has tried his hands at YONO service from SBI. Sourabh Mukherjee, a 55-years old SBI customer working for a multinational firm, has been using YONO since its early days and we decided to talk to him about his user experience.

When did the need for using YONO come

Mukherjee is a little tech-savvy and especially when it comes to apps related to his bank, he prefers to try it out first-hand as soon as it is released. With YONO, the same thing happened. Given that Mukherjee has been a SBI customer for almost 30 years, he registered for the service via the web version and later downloaded the app on his mobile phone.

Does the YONO service deliver on its promises

SBI positions YONO as an all-in-one solution for shoppers who want to pay bills, buy tickets, keep a tab on bank account details and more. Mukherjee isn't much of a shopaholic but he has been using YONO to book train tickets as well as pay DTH bills frequently. And that's mostly because it's connected to his primary bank account.

However, when it comes to the features we are interested in, he hasn't had much luck with it. Mukherjee has made a few cash withdrawals with YONO as well as make merchant payments.

Has YONO helped him replace his debit card

No, it hasn't in many ways.

Mukherjee says that while the concept is good for tech-savvy generation, it is not built well reliably. He says that in order to make a cash withdrawal from an ATM counter, it took him more time than the usual card-based process. The major put-off for him is the slow transmission of the Reference Code which needs to be used within 30 minutes of its generation. Many times, the code came after an hour. And then it also depends a lot on the Internet connectivity of the device.

Instead of the long process with the YONO, Mukherjee often (and still) finds himself reaching for the debit card for a fuss-free cash withdrawal. And even when he's not carrying the card, he mostly prefers to make payments via BHIM UPI app or Paytm's wallet.

That said, he says that YONO is a thoughtful idea with a poor implementation nd that SBI needs to work on the flaws to make it as effortless as the debit card that he has been using his whole life.

Should debit cards be removed?

According to Mukherjee, the debit card should stay around even if digital transactions are the future. It's very similar to a fail-proof a system where only a few things can go wrong, i.e forgotten the PIN or lost the card. And when such unfortunate things happen, a service like YONO can make life easy and not hamper it.