Digital payments: India pips China, US, others in 2020; leads global tally with this many transactions

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Updated: April 07, 2021 8:28 PM

India’s digital payments market led by Paytm, PhonePe, Pine Labs, Razorpay, BharatPe, and others has surged during the pandemic even as incentives such as cash backs, rewards, and offers have helped businesses to attract more customers.

UPI transaction value witnessed a growth of 18.7 per cent month-on-month to Rs 5.05 lakh crore in March 2021 from Rs 4.25 lakh crore in February 2021.

Amid Covid, India was home to the highest number of real-time online transactions in 2020 ahead of countries such as China and the US. 25.5 billion real-time payments transactions were processed in the country followed by 15.7 billion in China, 6 billion in South Korea, 5.2 billion in Thailand, and 2.8 billion in the UK. Among the top 10 countries, the US was ranked ninth with 1.2 billion transactions. The transaction volume share for instant payments India, among real-time transactions, was 15.6 per cent and 22.9 per cent for other electronic payments in 2020, according to a report by the US-based payments system company ACI Worldwide. Importantly, paper-based payments continued to have a considerable share of 61.4 percent in India.

However, this is expected to change by 2025 as volume shares for instant payments and other electronic payments are likely to grow to 37.1 per cent and 34.6 per cent respectively. Consequently, the share of paper-based transactions would contract to 28.3 per cent. Moreover, the share of real-time payments volume in overall electronic transactions will exceed 50 per cent by 2024. “India’s journey of creating a digital financial infrastructure has been characterized by collaboration between the government, the regulator, banks, and fintechs. This has helped to advance the country’s goal of enabling financial inclusion and also provided rapid payments digitization for citizens,” said Kaushik Roy, VP and head of product management, Asia, ME and Africa, ACI Worldwide in a statement.

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India’s digital payments market led by Paytm, PhonePe, Pine Labs, Razorpay, BharatPe, and others on the B2C and B2B sides has surged during the pandemic even as incentives such as cash backs, rewards, and offers have helped businesses to attract more customers. Moreover, policy frameworks such as Pre-Paid Instruments (PPI), Universal Payment Interface (UPI) by the NPCI apart from Aadhar, and the launch of BHIM-app have driven the financial inclusion and improved the payment acceptance infrastructure in the country in the past few years.

According to another report by the Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (IVCA) and Ernst & Young, digital payments in India is expected to grow at 27 per cent CAGR during the FY20-25 period from Rs 2,153 lakh crore transactions in FY20 to Rs 7,092 lakh crore in FY25. UPI transaction value witnessed a growth of 18.7 per cent month-on-month to Rs 5.05 lakh crore in March 2021 from Rs 4.25 lakh crore in February 2021 while transaction volume rose by 19 per cent to 2,731.68 million from 2,292.90 million during the said period, according to data released by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

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