Digital Payments Proliferate in India
It’s a sign of the times when girls scouts selling cookies in your neighborhood hold up a sign displaying a QR code for their Venmo account. But what if you come across a beggar accepting digital payments?
That’s actually happening in India, according to a recent New York Times article that cites many examples of the country’s digital-payment revolution, none more remarkable than a beggar in Delhi flashing a QR code at a motorist who has no cash to give.
The QR code can be found everywhere in India. Roadside vendors, beachside performers, auto-rickshaw drivers, and countless others are participating in a scan-and-pay system that’s generating billions of transactions every month through a digital payment system that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has developed.
About half the transactions involve small payments, such as for a cup of chai or packet of chips, but in total last year, they exceeded the value of digital transactions in the U.S., Britain, Germany, and France combined.
Almost 300 million people and 50 million merchants are using the digital payment system, according to Dilip Asbe, the managing director of the National Payments Corporation of India.
“I used to prefer cash,” Rajesh Kumar Srivastva, an auto-rickshaw driver in Delhi, told The Times. “But I learned the benefits of this during the lockdown.”
He was pleasantly surprised, following the pandemic, to find much more money in his bank account than he had expected, thanks to digital payments.
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Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.
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