|CASHLESS PAYMENT GAINS IMPORTANCE|
Aruba, December 14, 2016 - Cashless payment gains importance due to demonetisation.
The chaos caused by India’s ban on high-denomination rupee notes has provided a boost to a national cashless payment platform that has struggled to gain traction.
Central bank data show that the government-backed Unified Payments Interface logged 358,000 transactions in the first nine days of December, shooting past November’s 287,000 total, as some Indians sought to circumvent the cash shortage that followed the government’s surprise graft-busting move on Nov. 8.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s action to invalidate old 500- and 1,000-rupee notes left India with about a fifth of its currency in circulation and caused a scramble for cash that has seen millions lining up at banks daily to deposit the notes or exchange them for new denominations. That’s pushed more people toward the UPI, which has been slow to take off amid criticism that banks are not promoting the service enough.
“For the customer and consumer, it is cheaper and easier to use UPI than most other ways of payments like cards,” Stuart Milne, chief executive officer for HSBC Holdings Plc’s India operations, said in an interview at Bloomberg’s Mumbai office last week. The platform is “beneficial to both customers and merchants,” he said.
Launched as part of the country’s bold push to yank its cash-based economy into the 21st century, the UPI allows users to make transactions over their mobile phones including cash transfers to other users, and payments to utilities and some merchants.
Anyone with a smartphone, an account at one of the UPI’s partner banks and a mobile number linked to that account can download the platform app. Users are enabled after registering on the app, which usually takes less than five minutes.
Still, the UPI has drawn criticism from a number of commentators who say that education for potential users is lacking and the platform’s partner banks aren’t doing enough to promote it.