Visa, the global leader in payments technology, is initiating the use of digital payments in rural India. Smaller towns and Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities are also going increasingly digital. Having experienced the convenience of using cards to pay online, consumers are adopting digital payments for categories as varied as groceries to online gaming. People now use them online for ecommerce, groceries, utility and phone bills and for hailing cabs. Offline too, debit cards are widely used to purchase small and large ticket items, from vegetables and household items to utilities, fuel, restaurants and luxury goods to name a few. To make more convenient and faster card payments experience, Visa is initiating the use and benefits of digital payments in rural India.
For a new user debit cards – that make up more than 95% of payment cards in circulation – are the de facto digital payment method to turn to. It is easy to understand and use and expenses are simply deducted from the individual’s bank account balance. Day to day expenditure can be managed without the hassles of cash and tracked through the account statement. Credit cards, on the other hand, are a more evolved payment instrument, often understood as short-term loans to be repaid within a fixed time period to avoid penalties. Spending through credit cards attracts reward points across numerous categories like travel, lifestyle, dining etc. Having a credit card is also useful in situations like medical emergenciesthat call for sudden large expenses that were not provisioned for.
Commenting on the changing landscape of debit cards usage, Visa Group Country Manager for India and South Asia, TR Ramachandran, said, “India has a staggering number of debit cards for a digitally evolving country. Debit transactions have increased by 23% over the past 12 months, an encouraging sign that people are using their cards more frequently and with more confidence. It also motivates us to continue developing secure and frictionless payment experiences for the customer.”
So what have these consumers, who have started paying by card recently, discovered that others have not? To begin with, paying by card, whether offline or online, is quicker and more convenient. All you need are the card and an authentication method – the CVV, PIN or OTP – to make the payment. In fact, for transactions below Rs. 2,000, one does not need the PIN. Taking convenience a step further, contactless payments are made by simply tapping the card on the POS machine, reducing transaction time to merely 3 seconds. Also, paying online for things bought online is better than rescheduling one’s routine to wait for the delivery person to deliver the goods and collect the cash.
For those who worry about the safety of using cards, rest assured that card transactions have security built in at various levels. The new chip-and-PIN and contactless cards being issued by banks are safer than mag-stripe ones. Networks like Visa ensure real time fraud monitoring and detection while issuers also provide simple grievance redressal methods. The regulator has also introduced limited customer liability in case of fraud to safeguard consumer interest. As the world is adopting digital payments at breakneck speed, no one would like to miss the digital payments bus. Simplicity, convenience, worldwide acceptance and safety are enough reasons to make that shift. And once you see how simple it is, you will stop fishing for cash to make every payment.