Until a few months ago, exchanging cash notes to make a purchase from another person or business was not considered life-threatening. Today, it is a new reality. Being hemmed inside their homes has forced individuals across the globe to revisit their modes of transaction. The past few months witnessed an exponential increase in the amount of time being spent by people on social media, with a large section of individuals moving to online commerce to make purchases. As per a recent study1 by UNCTAD, approximately 64% of e-commerce players reported an increase in transactions via a digital mode of payment over the last few months.
From bank notes to smartphones
The pandemic has played havoc with business revenues, globally. India, following the footsteps of other nations across the world, announced a nationwide lockdown along with several other measures that resulted in zero-to-limited movement in the country. This meant more people were forced to stay indoors, maintain social distancing, and other measures that caused a major disruption in the economic activities in the country.
However, as someone rightly said, “the show must go on”. And it did go on, in the new normal. While digital modes of payment were once considered as just another convenient option to make transactions pre-pandemic, today these payment modes have emerged as a preferred option. Encouragement from the Government and regulators alike further propelled the adoption of digital payments. Modes of digital payments such as United Payments Interface (UPI), RuPay cards, FASTags, all-in-one quick response (QR), and many more became the unsung heroes for SMEs and MSMEs to keep their businesses afloat.
Digital payments are our future
Digital payments saw a huge uptake post demonetization in November 2016 and has been on an upward path ever since. As per IBEF2 in 2019, India had a more evolved digital ecosystem than several developed countries in the world. With a higher dependency on online platforms amongst Indians, 2020 witnessed a rapid increase in adoption of digital payments. As per a recent report by Accenture3, in India, 66.6 billion transactions worth US$ 270.7 billion are expected to shift from cash to cards and digital payments by 2023 – and further increase to US$ 856.6 billion by 2030.
While this may sound like good news, digital payments require two key enablers – innovation and infrastructure. India still has a long way to cover when it comes to digital infrastructure. The world data speed monitoring platform Ookla4 recently ranked India #131 for mobile internet in their Speedtest Global Index. Sadly, it is impossible to transact digitally without an adequate internet speed. Innovation in digital payments is another key area where India has rapidly grown with a spurt in innovative products that appealed to the customers. In order to ensure the growing trajectory of digital payment, there is a need to build a robust infrastructure and to continue innovating so as to bring cutting-edge yet simple & secure solutions for the Indian customers.
Enable your business with everything digital
At BharatPe, our teams are burning the midnight oil to continuously innovate and offer fintech products that help merchants grow their business. We were the first to launch interoperable UPI QR in 2018 that enabled our merchant partners to accept payments from any of the numerous mobile wallets like PayTm, PhonePe, Google Pay, BHIM and 150+ other UPI apps, without any transaction fees. Earlier this year, we launched our card acceptance machine with the industry-first zero rental and zero transaction fees option. As of October 2020, BharatPe has a network of over five million small and medium sized businesses and further aims to power 50 million Indian SMEs in the times to come. In November 2020, we toppled Google Pay to become No. 3 player in the country in the UPI P2M category. It is our continuous endeavour to transform the way SMEs view payments and empower them. Adapting to BharatPe involves an instant sign up and an immediate payment acceptance to the linked bank account. Through BharatPe, merchants can even earn upto 12% interest on ongoing payments and avail loans, whenever required.
With digital payment adoption accelerating in COVID-19 era amongst consumers and merchants, it is likely that the shift in the way people transact will be a sustained one. The pandemic has also unearthed opportunities for SMEs and MSMEs which are both agile and versatile to change and have compelled one to rethink their payment framework and infrastructure.