A cashless payment ecosystem in India today seems imminent. However, this was not the case until a few years ago. It took several visionary policy changes, aligning India Inc, and finally, a pandemic to get to where we are today. 

Cashless economy saw a new lease of life in 2016 when demonetization forced Indians to transition to digital payments. This was propelled further by Jio’s internet revolution. Today, with over 74 crore internet users and subscribers, the digital payments ecosystem in India has evolved into a behemoth, with increased adoption of cashless payment methods such as United payments interface (UPI), RuPay cards, FASTags, all-in-one quick response (QR) and many more. 

COVID-19: Changing the face of digital payments 

(Wo)man is a creature of habit, and habits once formed are difficult to break. The pandemic-induced nation-wide lockdown caused what is called ‘the huge reset’. It practically forced billions to stay at home for months and also enabled the adoption of digital payments for purchases – ranging from small time purchases such as groceries to big ticket ones such as electronics. Due to the very real possibility of infection via fomites and direct contact, the process of exchanging cash was feared and the demand for digital payment platforms grew exponentially.

Retailers across grocery and local kirana stores grabbed the opportunity and witnessed an immediate spike in payments via digital modes like POS, UPI and QR codes. In fact, many grocery stores reported several fold growth in business post-adoption of various digital payment methods. Cut to today – with the relaxation in lockdowns and life continuing well into the next normal, digital payments have emerged as not only a matter of convenience, but also a necessity. UPI has been a great enabler, as consumers can directly pay via their bank account using UPI. Over the last 7 months, UPI transactions have tripled (US$0.9 bn in April 2020 to US$2.2 bn in November 2020)

Many economic experts believe that the digital payments sector with its stability and potential for innovation will play a pivotal role in rebooting the economy, especially the (M)SMEs. According to a report by RedSeer in fact, growing digitisation of merchants is expected to contribute to the growth of digital payments to INR 7,092 trillion by 2025.

The magic of one-tap QR code

Although digital payments include multiple payment methods, one that really works for both the consumers and merchants is the QR code. Off late, QR-based payments are emerging as the most sought after payment solution, especially catering to the small and informal set-ups such as kirana stores and street vendors. 

With almost 93 per cent of retail transactions taking place in these small and informal setups, QR-based payments could potentially transform traditional practices of business-customer transactions. QR-based transactions can enable instant payments by integrating over 150+ UPI apps, top-grade security, higher reliability, and an easy set up procedure, providing you a hassle-free experience, with no hardware investments. All you need to set it up is a bank account, a smartphone, a data connection, and the only infrastructure set up – a QR code sticker. 

Get your own QR code today!

As of October 2020, BharatPe has catered to over five million businesses with its QR-based as well as POS payment platforms and further aims to power 50 million Indian SMEs in the times to come. The company is committed to transform the way SMEs view payments and empower them. BharatPe launched the industry-first interoperable UPI QR in 2018, with zero transaction charges. With just a single QR code, merchants can accept payment via a range of payment apps such as Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay and 150+ other UPI apps. Through BharatPe, merchants can accept payments across multiple payment modes and also avail business loans whenever required. 

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