Initially, we resisted, then we found a way to analyse m-passbooks

Inkredo is now analysing Indian m-passbooks just like bank statements. However, there are limitations due to the absence of the balance column in m-passbooks.

Initially, we resisted, then we found a way to analyse m-passbooks
Photo by Viktor Forgacs / Unsplash

What is the purpose of an m-passbook?

What is a bank statement without a balance column? I am not sure why do banks generate it? Physical passbooks do not hide the balance column or balance amount when you and I get it updated after standing in a queue (why don't we spell it q simply!). I think a bank statement is a close electronic replica of the physical passbook.

Why do we have m-passbooks? Is the purpose only to report all the transactions? Even if there is more to it, what is the purpose of hiding the balance data after every transaction? What is useful to the customer in hiding the balance column?

Image 1: If this was your passbook, would you depend on your memory if all transactions were recorded?

Why balance column matter in a bank statement?

The definition of an m-passbook by different banks suggests that it is meant to give a mini statement of transactions (Image 2). Until m-passbooks happened, we all knew mini statements as transactions that could fit in a small ATM slip. Even it had a balance column but banks decided to change the definition of m-passbooks with the advent of mobile apps. Now mini statements can be months long (note the duration in image 1) but the balance column is trimmed. Giving partial info of a transaction is the new mini statement!

Image 2: Definition of m-passbooks by banks

Why are we ranting about it?

Our customers collect data points from various sources to develop trust with loan applicants. Hence they care about defaulted transactions, average monthly balance and manipulations in transactions. If we are unable to identify it, how does it get easier to build trust? For the lack of balance column, we cannot identify the following:

  • defaulted transactions, if any
  • order of transactions: to check whether the transactions were modified
  • the monthly average balance of opening and closing months
  • the overdraft limit, if any, or the lowest balance in the entire duration of the statement

With limitations in m-passbooks can still identify the monthly cash flows, income and expense behaviour, loans running and financial services subscribed.

How are we ensuring that your decision making is not skewed?

So that customer's insights are not skewed because there is no change in experience, there is an alert informing all the missing data points that we discussed above.

Why are we doing it now?

Technology has the ability to evolve itself every 18 to 36 months, hence every piece of software will ultimately become a liability. Every thriving business and technology has to evolve with time and liabilities. With scale, the bugs will also begin to rise from the slumber. What got us here, will not take us there. The only real relationship is customers and it is one thing that no business wants to change for worse. Since the number of customers has increased and so have the frequency of m-passbooks, we now support analysing it in a similar way as bank statements.

How can you start using it?

Analysing m-passbooks is only available to users of the latest API.

API users on the latest version will not have to make any changes. We have a boolean is_mpassbook in the PII response to alert you.

"pii": {
        "message": "Successfully extracted PII from the bank statement.",
        "data": {
            "account_number": "003610456712345",
            "ifsc": IFSC0123456,
            "is_mpassbook": true,
            "metadata": {
                "author": "",
                "creation_date": "20 Feb 2020 01:26:08 +0000",
                "creator": null,
                "modification_date": null,
                "producer": "PDFjet v5.53 ("
            "name": "DOW JONES",
            "pan": null,
            "statement_period": {
                "from": "06/08/2019",
                "to": "19/02/2020"
            "validation_checks": {
                "note": "The document shows no sign of modification after inspecting the metadata.",
                "trustable_pdf_producer": null,
                "same_creation_modification_date": true,
                "valid_fonts": true,
                "valid_structure": true
        "success": true

The responses to defaulted transactions, average monthly balance, and erred transactions are also coupled with an alert :

This is an mPassbook which does not have a balance column, hence we have assumed the opening balance as ZERO before the first transaction.

Customers on the old API (v2.0 and v4.0) will have to switch to the latest API for analysing m-passbooks. Best of all, it costs you nothing. The upgrade is free for existing customers. We are sunsetting v2.0 and v4.0 on 30th Sep 2021.

If you are new to Inkredo, please try us. No sign up required, no credit card required.