Budget 2017: India’s move to a less-cash dependent economy is bold and ground breaking. It has been a major economic reform with 86 percent of all currency in circulation being withdrawn and an efficient remonetisation happening quickly and without violence or rioting. Indians displayed great nationalistic sentiment and pride as they adopted digital payments as a trustworthy cash alternative.
India is home to a largely young population who are fast adopters of technology thereby our country ranks among the top two nations in smartphone ownership coupled with more internet users, way ahead of the US and just behind China. All of these right ingredients coupled with the Government push serves as the necessary impetus to fulfill India’s potential to be a global leader in adoption of Digital payments.
Electronic payments can go a long way in enabling economic progression. While consumers benefit from the security, efficiency and convenience of electronic payments, merchants can further improve their revenues, increase their credit worthiness and create efficiencies in business.
To advance consistency and increasing adoption of Digital Payments, a fast follow on is needed on the efficient work done in the last few months. Policy, Regulation and Tax support is needed from the Union Budget to further give impetus. Here is a brief wish list that we believe can hasten this journey:
- Focus on Acceptance Development with subsidies and duty waivers for electronic payment methods
- Seamless and efficient merchant onboarding with simpler processes, removing barriers for getting access to payment infrastructure by relying on technology
- Open Interoperable environment with quality competition driving growth of digital
- Encouraging stringent quality, security and anti-fraud checks in payment platforms to intensify customer confidence and trust in electronic payments
- Investments in robust risk mitigation measures to safeguards financial infrastructure
- Allocation for Consumer and Merchant education
- Tax benefits and subsidies for using and accepting electronic payments
India is at the cusp of a major change. This will not be the first instance for India to leapfrog and skip an entire stage of transformation. Consumer behavior change and cashless behavior needs encouragement and the industry has high expectations from the Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley and the Union Budget 2017.
(The article has been authored by Monica Jasuja. She is Head of Digital Payments at Mastercard, South Asia)