“How much is it?”
“Rs 450. Ma’am, you can Google Pay the amount. Here is the QR code.”
This is an everyday conversation between Vats Meha, a student, and any shopkeeper, vendor or auto/cab driver that she has to pay money.
“Online payments have made our lives so easy. Almost everyone uses PhonePe, PayTM or Google Pay. Even small street vendors and other shopkeepers,” shared Meha. Earlier, she used to carry cash in case of emergency, but now, since everyone accepts online payments, she doesn’t carry any cash.
“Also, using online modes of payment helps me keep a record of where I spent money…. Just scroll down the history and you know when and where you spent your money,” she added.
For Aviral Aggarwal, a mechanical engineer, online transactions spared him the trouble of carrying cash. “It was always difficult to carry cash. You have to take care of the money you are carrying…. For a person like me, doing online payments is a huge relief.” He has been using the online mode of payment for two years.
Asked if there was any situation where he wanted to pay online but couldn’t, he informed The Observer: “I don’t remember any such instance. Many times street vendors themselves ask us to pay online. While travelling in cabs/autos too, the drivers prefer online payments which is easy for me.”
Prerika Makkar, an MSc Student, spoke about the benefits of online payments. “The biggest benefit of this (online payments) is that I don’t face the problem of paying a certain amount of money. You see, if the cost of something is Rs. 176, I can pay the exact amount through the online mode. On the other hand, if the payment is to be done through cash, it becomes difficult to give the exact money, and most of the time, they don’t have the change.”
“During the pandemic, online payments have definitely gained popularity. Even I started using it in 2020. No doubt, it is easy and hassle-free. for It saves time as well.”
According to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), India’s flagship digital payments platform, the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) witnessed its highest number of transactions in April 2022 at 5,583, million valued at Rs. 9,83,302 crore. In April the previous year, the transactions numbered 2,641 million, valued at Rs. 4,93,663 crore. The volume of transactions rose by 111.39 per cent and the value of transactions increased by 99 per cent.
Drivers, street vendors prefer online payments
Ayub Khan, an autorickshaw driver, prefers receiving online payments. “Every other customer has GPay or PhonePe, and they prefer the online mode of payment. I also feel that it is much easy to pay online. It is safe and saves times. Many times, people don’t have change or I don’t have change which creates problem. With online payments, there is no such difficulty.”
K.R. Nagaraju, another autorickshaw driver, is also comfortable with online transactions. “I don’t remember the last time I received a payment through cash. At present, everyone uses online payment methods. It is an easy option. Since everyone uses it, I too have to keep myself upgraded. I use it not only for receiving money but also for paying at shops.”
Recently, Mint published a report which mentioned an increase in digital payments in India by 33 per cent year-on-year (YoY) during FY 2021-22. The Ministry of Electronics and IT said a total of 7,422 crore digital transactions were recorded during the period. In FY 2020-21, 5,554 crore transactions were recorded.
Rajkumar Khatik, a fruit vendor who has placed a QR code board on his stall, shared: “Earlier, I only accepted cash; but with changing times, I have to use online payment methods as most customers asked for online payment. And when they used to find out that I accept only cash, they used to go away. I also faced problems like lack of change money. With online transactions, there is no problem of change, and people also find it easy to pay online.”
Banti Rajak, who sells fast food, said: “I think people have started using GPay and other modes more after the pandemic. The main reason for me to have online payment options was to be up to date with customers. If our customers want to pay us online, we should have that facility; otherwise we might lose them. And after using it, I realized how safe, easy and good it is.”
Rati Priya, assistant manager, Vijaya Bank, shared: “Online payments have increased a lot. It is good to see people using this facility. This mode is safe and secure and allows people to do smooth transactions.”
Recently, The Economic Times published an article that said the Reserve Bank of India proposes to issue guidelines on Cyber Resilience and Payment Security Controls for Payment System Operators. The RBI’s Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies released on April 8, 2022, stated: “With greater adoption of digital payment modes, it is important to ensure that payment system infrastructures are not only efficient and effective but also resilient to conventional and emerging risks, specifically those relating to cyber security.”