Ladies Special: Investments just for YOU!
Financial service providers are wooing the fairer sex with special benefits on women-centric products.
The modern Indian woman is fiercely independent, has a mind of her own and has the ability to multi-task. Yet, when it comes to finance and financial products the general perception about women is that she is averse to risk while he is the risk-taker and willing to pitch it all up for mighty gains.
This perception may soon be a thing of the past as many social studies conducted worldwide pertaining to finance and gender groups continue to prove that women are social influencers and have the ability to invest remarkably well.
Thus, with an increase in the number of working women, there has been a steady rise in the gamut of financial products owned by women.
According to the latest data available with the Reserve Bank of India the share of women deposit holders has also witnessed a rise from 26 per cent in 2012 to 30 per cent in 2013.
Thankfully, financial service providers have been quick to ride this wave and there are a number of women-centric products that offer special advantages to women.
Here is a closer look at some such benefits.
Special savings account for women
There are quite a few banks today that offer special savings account for the ladies that come with added benefits.
For instance, ICICI Bank has the 'Advantage Woman Savings Account' where the minimum balance is Rs 10,000 and the daily spending limit on the debit card is Rs 50,000.
Axis Bank offers a 'Smart Privilege Account For Women' where the minimum balance is Rs 10,000 and there are added benefits of a zero balance minor account, a debit card and jewellery insurance cover.
Similarly, IDIBI Bank offers the 'Super Shakti Account' where apart from the facilities mentioned above, women are also entitled to locker facilities and investment advisory services at concessional rates.
Note: All pictures used only for representational purposes
The author is Co-founder and Director Credit Vidya.
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters
The empowering plastic
Savvy lenders also offer special benefits on credit cards to their women customers. The ladies not only have specific cards, but also have added benefits such as cash back facilities, lower maintenance charges and accidental insurance on such cards.
Some popular cards are, HDFC Easy Shop Women's Advantage Debit Card that offers Rs 1 as cash back on purchase of every Rs 200 for the duration of a year. The holders of this card also get a 50 per cent discount on locker facilities for a year and an accident insurance cover upto Rs 2 lakh.
Foreign banks have special cards for women such as the Diva Card from Standard Chartered Bank that offers the facility of free health check ups at leading hospitals once in a year.
It also offers bill paying facilities and discounts for services at salons and spas.
Similarly, Citibank offers the Women's Visa Silver Card that is a free card for life and offers a reward point for every Rs 200 spent on the card. It also offers attractive discounts at various retail outlets. Women also get additional card free of cost on this card.
Photographs: Issei Kato/Reuters
Insurance policy benefits
Since women are usually known to have better longevity than men, they typically enjoy discounts of upto 10 per cent on the premium of insurance policies. That apart, there are special policies for women.
For instance, there is LIC's Jeevan Bharati policy that offers critical illness cover for women related diseases, covers pregnancy as well as medical cover for child born with congenital problems.
Another insurance policy that covers pregnancy and other women related diseases is 'Birla Sun Life Woman First' from Birla Sun Life.
Another policy that women can consider is 'Smapoorna Samridhi' from HDFC Life that gives the holder the dual benefits of a life and endowment plan.
The policyholder has the option of receiving an enhanced amount at maturity at the end of the term policy, or a maturity amount with a sum assured on death up to the age of 99.
Photographs: Ints Kalnins/Reuters
Other banking products
Women are also eligible for special benefits on loan products.
India's largest commercial bank, State Bank of India, offers special home loan rates for its women customers. For loans up to Rs 75 lakh, women borrowers are offered a loan at Rs 10.10 per cent per annum. For others, it is 10.15 per cent.
For loans above Rs 75 lakh women borrowers are offered an interest rate of 10.25 per cent per annum, as compared to others who pay 10.30 per cent.
Similarly, many state owned banks offer cheaper education loans for female students. Similarly, there are special loan schemes allowing women to buy jewellery at cheaper rates and special loan schemes for women entrepreneurs.
Thus, as is visible, there are many financial products that have been specially designed with the needs of women in mind.
Photographs: Jagadeesh Nv/Reuters