WHEN Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 announced the demonetisation of R500 and R1000 currency notes not many knew what to do with the older notes. As the country moves closer to new currency notes, there are still limits placed by the government over what one can withdraw. The mandate by the government allows for transactions of only R10,000 in a day, with a maximum withdrawal limit of R20,000 per week and ATM withdrawals of R2,000 per day until November 18.
Though that is enough to pay some bills, with the exchange process continuing till the end of the year, getting cash is not going to be easy, especially with long lines at the ATM and bank counters. While there is certainly little that can be done in this regard, and as the PM said that there will be some inconvenience for the common man, if you don’t have too many R50 and R100 notes, there are a few solutions that can make your life easier.
Switch to e-payments
Inherent in the government’s message is the move towards a cashless society. If the presence of wallets, payment gateways, mobile payment options and the recently launched Unified Payment Interface has not convinced you to ditch cash, now maybe the time to reconsider.
There are a few options available on each of the platforms and you can start using them by just downloading the apps. If you are a loyal bank customer, you can use one of the bank’s wallets like SBI Buddy or ICICI Pockets. If your bank does not have a wallet, you can always go to platforms like Chillr which provide multi-bank payment services and have affiliations with HDFC Bank, Andhra Bank and Bank of Baroda.
Mobile wallets are also a viable option and are an easier payment method because of their wide acceptability, especially for food ordering, cab payments and grocery shopping—if your local kirana has upgraded. Not only that, the likes of PayTM and Mobikwik can offer you some good deals on payments as well. Although Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has not found many users as of now, you can certainly switch to this mode. The registration is easier than most others and those buddy transfers are just a few taps away.
Also, if you are running low on cash, you can ask your folks for more money. Moreover, as the government has placed no restrictions on electronic transactions, these can certainly be the way forward. If not, there are always credit and debit cards. In fact, you can get 40-55 days of credit with some good cashback option these days. But do remember not to overspend, as late payments and overdue amounts attract 45% interest.
One of the first concerns that must have sprung up in your mind is how you are going to get your daily groceries. But fret not, there are enough electronic options that can help you with this problem as well and all of them accept e-payments. If you have not listened to that movie star asking you to buy them online, now may be a good time. One can choose from Bigbasket, Grofers or even Amazon Now. Payment options are easy and you can also decide on the delivery time or opt for instant delivery option which is within two hours in most cases.
Pay utility bills online
Although most wallets now provide for this facility, there are websites like PayTM, Freecharge and Suvidha which cover services from your telephone bill to your electricity bill. One can also pay for internet and DTH bills, and get some good discounts on these services like cashbacks or discount coupons.
The government has allowed cash payments at gas stations till November 12 but most of them do accept credit and debit card, which waive off your fuel surcharge while also giving you shopping points. You can also use PayTM at select outlets to pay for petrol or diesel.
Similarly, for purchase of medicines, one can use services like Netmeds, Medplusmart, Zigy for ordering medicines online. The government is thinking about regulating e-pharmacies, but for now they are up and running.
With enough online options it is
certainly possible to get by with as little cash as possible. Also, if you have been relying too much on cash, this experience might also attune you to the brave new world of e-payments, which may be the way forward given the government’s push towards a less-cash society. So, if you are still thinking of bargaining for some change from your kirana store or friends, now may be the time to change.