Allauddin Qadri, a 65-year-old retired businessman, has dealt with cash all his life and has stayed away from the ‘hassles’ of online banking. But the cash crunch has forced him to learn how to operate an ATM and do online banking.
Qadri lives in Lal Kuan near Fatehpuri Masjid in Old Delhi. “I never thought I would have to learn how to swipe the ATM card and make transactions using computers at this age. This is all a new learning experience for me and I am not very sure I like it a lot,” he said.
Many elderly like him, especially in the Walled City, are getting accustomed to the banking system after the Central government demonetised Rs500 and Rs1,000 currency notes on November 8. The city’s banks and ATMs have been crowded due to paucity of cash even as Prime Minister appealed to people to move to online transactions.
Qadri and his friends have never used ATMs and online banking because they felt the new age banking system has made frauds easier. But now they are left with little choice.
“This generation has no concept of personal space. My son does not think twice before entering his ATM pin online. What if some fraud happens? Maybe people of my generation think too much,” he said.
Burhanuddin, 48, who taught his father Qadri to do online banking, said that many old people in Old Delhi are now being forced to learn the ways of digitalisation.
“The government’s announcement may have been made with good intention but it would have been more successful if the implementation was also strong. Many days the ATMs are out of cash and the banks do not even give the promised limit. People are going through too much trouble, this should be avoided,” he said.
A few kilometres away, at Ballimaran, 75-year-old Mohammad Yusuf is learning how to write cheques.
He keeps the cheque book on a padded notebook for steadiness and bends as close to the cheque leaf as he can for concentration. With shivering hands Yusuf tries to get his signature right to avoid going to the bank multiple times (in case the signature does not match). The entire process takes him at least 15 minutes.
“Getting into a bank is a task in itself. The cheque getting rejected after reaching the counter would mean wasting time in the present scenario,” he said.
Yusuf’s son, a 44-year-old spice trader in Khari Baoli, said that earlier he could just take money out of his own account but the cap of money withdrawals has made him take cash from his father’s account as well.
“I know my father does not like doing the banking procedures, but I have no other option but to ask him for the money. I can just withdraw Rs24,000 from my bank account and all our dealings are in cash. We are a religious family so women do not have bank accounts. I am only left with his account,” he said.