New Delhi: Digital payment methods are well accepted by Indian households and are not just the preserve of the rich or well-educated, finds a study conducted by People Research on India’s Consumer Economy (PRICE) in partnership with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
Covering 5,314 households across 25 states with a sample designed to represent states and households across the income spectrum, the survey was aimed at understanding the awareness, adoption and use behaviour of households with respect to digital payments.
The study showed that while one of two of India’s richest 20 per cent households use digital payments, as many as one out of four households in the poorest 40 per cent also use it. In addition, there is a suppressed demand of people who say they desire to use it but need someone to show them how to, and a smaller group who used it earlier and discontinued.
If this ‘ready’ demand is enabled through effective training and education, then over half of all Indian households (54 per cent or 151 million households) will become digital payment users – 55 million of these households will come from the poorest 40 per cent of Indian households, 61 million will come from middle India or middle 40 per cent income band and only 36 million will come from the richest 20 per cent.
The report also points to the fact that that smart phone ownership is no longer a bottleneck for the adoption of digital payments with 68 per cent of the respondents (those in charge of looking after banking and payment work for the household, typically the Chief Wage earner) owning smartphones. As expected, smartphone usership is near universal at 90 per cent for the richest 20 per cent of Indian households, but as high as 57 per cent of India’s poorest households have a smartphone.
The report revealed a very high level of awareness of UPI and payment apps and that households which are using UPI as a platform may not be completely aware about interoperability of the platform. There is a potential to create the awareness that any bank or payment app can be used to make UPI payments to any UPI user and users should know their UPI ID. The RuPay card volumes have also witnessed a rise not only in urban areas, but also in remote PIN codes that had hitherto remained silent.
According to the study, the banking system is also very well connected digitally to respondents via Aadhaar linkages and SMS facility even at the lower income groups. The report finds 87 per cent of the respondents are aware of the fact that they get SMS from the banks, which gives them the confidence to manage their money safely.
As per the report, the Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) delivery system has worked exceedingly well for the respondents and got even better during lockdown as around 85 per cent of the households received DBTs on their bank accounts.