Prepaid payment instruments (PPIs), comprising chiefly of mobile wallets, crossed the 100-million transactions mark in January to clock a total of 113.63 million transactions, as per representative data released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). This is the first time the category has recorded a volume of over 100 million since the central bank started releasing the data, based on transactions of eight non-bank issuers, in November 2016. Since the data does not account for all wallet transactions in the system, the final industry-wide volume figure is likely to be much higher. Transaction volumes of PPIs rose 15% month-on-month (m-o-m), while the value of transactions rose 9% to Rs 3,826 crore in January. Based on this, the average ticket size of a wallet transaction works out to about Rs 337 in the month, down from Rs 354 in December. A lower ticket size typically implies that the particular payment channel is being used for more in everyday payment transactions. Most modes of retail digital payments registered growth in transaction volumes in January. The volume of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) transactions grew 4.3% m-o-m to 151.66 million and the value rose 18% to Rs 15,542 crore. The average ticket size of a UPI transaction now stands at Rs 1,025, up from Rs 903 in December.
The average value of a UPI transaction has typically been higher than that of a wallet transaction because use of the former channel has so far been limited to peer-to-peer payments, while wallets are more commonly used to make small-value payments to merchants. Next in line were debit and credit card transactions at point-of-sale (PoS) terminals, which rose 4% m-o-m in volume terms to 268 million. The aggregate value of card transactions fell 0.7% from the previous month to Rs 51,216 crore. This data is based on card transactions sourced from four banks and the final figure for the entire system is likely to be much higher. Among other payment modes, Immediate Payment System (IMPS) saw volumes grow 1.6% m-o-m to 99.6 million, while the value grew 1.3% to Rs 88,213.57 crore.
The Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) channel saw volumes slipping 5.6% m-o-m to 0.17 million.The value of transactions fell 4% from their December level to Rs 29 crore. This mode of payment is meant for users of feature phones and usage of the mode has suffered in recent months as some of its users may have switched to the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app for UPI, which is also available for feature phones.