Between 40% and 50% of new digital users that demonetisation created continue to transact digitally, Dilip Asbe, chief operating officer at the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), said. “The volumes have not gone back to what it was in October. We see a four-fold jump compared to the October numbers, which is not a bad sign. What I think we should look at on a standalone basis is that we have sadded about 25-30 million customers brought into the digital platform who have stayed on digital platforms,” Asbe said, adding that the number of unique users of digital modes of payment had risen to about 100 million after the note ban from 40-50 million in October. It now stands at about 65 million.
Asbe was speaking on the sidelines of an event to announce the launch of a merchant acquisition service for payments using the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) channel by Mastek-incubated start-up Benow. The usage of the UPI has so far been largely limited to peer-to-peer payments.
The service will allow merchants to accept customer payments through the UPI by generating static and/or dynamic QR (quick-response) codes. YES Bank will offer settlement support to the network. In terms of acquisition, QR code-based payments in the merchant space have been penetrated more successfully by non-bank issuers of wallets, such as Paytm and Mobikwik.
Sudhakar Ram, founder and CEO of Benow, said the company is running an introductory offer, where merchants will have to pay `500 upfront to avail of the service for six months and `99 per month thereafter. “On top of that, there’s an MDR (merchant discount rate) that the banking system charges. Right now, the MDR is fixed at 25 basis points (bps) for most transactions below `2,000 and 65 bps for transactions above `2,000.”
In February, the NPCI and payments companies Mastercard and Visa had launched the BharatQR code solution in a bid to avoid ceding the market to wallet companies with a target of acquiring one million merchants by the end of 2017.
Asbe said about 20 banks have been on-boarded for the rollout of BharatQR and there are plans to eventually merge BharatQR with the UPI QR. He also said the launch of Aadhaar Pay will be announced on Friday and the NPCI is in the process of enabling real-time refunds for failed transactions over the UPI channel.