A significant new study has found that 63% of retailers in the countryside may now be inclined to use the cashless system of payment. The study reports a marked jump in the number of rural consumers willing to use mobile payments, post demonetization, on par with their urban counterparts. In locations with moderate consumption levels, there is also a significant increase in shops that are prepared to pay a transaction charge in excess of 1%.
Titled “Going Cashless?”, the research covering perceptions, usage and behavior, toward digital payments, pre and post demonetization, was conducted by the Centre for Digital Financial Inclusion, IFMR in collaboration with researchers at Digital Innovation Lab, IIM Bangalore. The report was released at the IIM campus at an event in Bengaluru today, a year after demonetization.
“There is a huge untapped potential for mobile payments at unorganized kirana stores, where most Indians go to fulfil their daily needs,” said Krishnan Dharmarajan, Executive Director, CDFI. “About 94% of shopkeepers have Mobile Phones, of which 41% were Smartphones at the time of the March 2017 study. The recent influx of low cost Smartphones bundled with Internet, should further push the surging interest in digital payments across both rural and urban India”.
Prof. D Krishna Sundar, Chairperson, Digital Innovation Lab, IIMB, said “In order to reach closer to a “cashless economy”, it is important that the number of digital transactions increases across the country amongst all segments and through a variety of payment options. Since one of the main contributors to economic activity and the current cash-based economy is the unorganized retail sector, this is a segment which cannot be ignored in the cashless journey and our study highlights that there are promising opportunities.”
The “Going Cashless” report is a spin-off of an ongoing academic study conducted by CDFI, Institute of Financial Management and Research, and the Digital Innovation lab, IIMB on the various factors shaping usage of cash and digital payments amongst consumers and Kirana retailers. This study also highlights the key challenges and opportunities to create an inclusive enabling environment for digital transactions across the country.
The “Going Cashless” study was done in two stages – pre-demonetisation (September 2016) and post-demonetisation (Feb-March 2017) with the sample of consumers and retailers from 11 districts across India.