Reshaping India’s Payment Landscape: Cash and Digital

Updated: February 25, 2019 11:21:00 AM

Hitachi, one of the leading Japanese conglomerates with a notable global footprint and a forerunner in digital innovation, is committed to transforming lives in India.

Reshaping India’s payment landscape: Cash and Digital

India, many concur, is a country of paradoxes. This holds true even when one looks at the financial sector. While young millennials are fast adopting online payment options, at one end of the spectrum, an enormous section of India’s population doesn’t operate a bank account. In this scenario, many were sceptical of India’s ability to open up to the process of greater digitalisation of the economy, but times are changing. There is evidently a transformation in the way people transact and access money, not just in urban India but in rural pockets as well.

So what’s really changing and how is this being brought about? Two factors. The first is the government’s single-minded focus and unwavering will to ensure social transformation at the grassroots. Post demonetisation, and the government’s decisive push towards digital transactions, there has been a noticeable shift in the adoption of cashless transactions. According to Morgan Stanley, digital payments have tripled to 7 per hcent of GDP, in three years.

The second factor is the availability of multiple breakthrough technologies – AI, IoT, Robotics – which can be combined to deliver a localised, highly relevant and user-friendly system. The challenge is to devise simple solutions that can benefit a tech-savvy millennial and equally ease life for a village entrepreneur who dropped out of school before fifth grade.

Mobile, e-Wallets and smart card payment options are also showing growth across urban and rural India. Having said that, cash is far from being rendered redundant and is still a widely preferred option for businesses and individual consumers. In fact, any holistic plan to modernise the financial landscape has to reimagine and deliver solutions for both cash and cashless trade.

Hitachi- partnering India’s social transformation

Hitachi, one of the leading Japanese conglomerates with a notable global footprint and a forerunner in digital innovation, has been an active partner in the government’s efforts, laudably committed to transforming lives in India.

Over the years, the Hitachi group has diversified and expanded through 28 group companies in India, across sectors like infrastructure, railways, energy, construction machinery, healthcare, IT, automotive systems, along with payment solutions. Its dual strength in Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT), strengthened by its Social Innovation Business, makes it an ideal enabler to assist in revolutionising different sectors to create a digitally connected India.

The group has, in the past, developed proven solutions for issues as diverse as urbanisation, water management, sustainable transportation, security solutions and smarter manufacturing. Their credentials have also led them to partner in the mission of transforming India’s financial landscape.

At the helm of the metamorphic shift that’s underway, Bharat Kaushal, Managing Director of Hitachi India predicts that “society will change much more than we ever imagined”.

Paving new paths in payments

The World Bank has long stressed the urgent need for emerging economies to adopt digitalisation, to expedite economic growth and ensure individual financial empowerment. In terms of economic growth, digital transformation is expected to add an estimated $154 billion to Indian GDP, according to International Data Corporation. The positive social ramifications for a developing country are manifold. There is expectedly greater transparency, traceability of remittances and significantly more accountability linked to social transfers.

Today, India and Hitachi are partnering the way products and services are consumed and paid for. Hitachi has been playing at the forefront of the evolution of both cash and digital payment solutions that are prevalent in India. Hitachi Payment Services (HPY) is a leading provider of ATM services – Bank & White Label, ATM software platforms and Cash Recycling Machines (CRM), a new innovation in the ATM segment. Operational as well as cost-efficient, the CRM is a better alternative to the traditional ATM and assists banks in its automation strategy. It manages over 45,000 ATMs and 13,000 CRMs on a nationwide basis. That’s roughly one-fourth of the total ATMs in India. According to the National Financial Switch Product (NFS), there were 2,39,321 ATMs across India in July 2018. In rural areas, with only ten ATMs per lakh people, there’s still a long way to go.

On the digital side, besides being a leading provider of end-to-end POS processing services, it also offers end-to-end e-commerce processing services, merchant aggregator solutions and card issuance solutions. HPY has over 9,00,000 point of sale (POS) devices (including mobile POS) under management in India.

Hitachi’s Digital India Stack Solutions enable transaction processing of UPI, Aadhar and BBPS payments, facilitating the rapid growth of digital payments throughout the country. With the plethora of initiatives, a radical transformation is slowly making its presence felt. In urban India, Hitachi’s Toll & Transit solutions provide commuters with a satisfying experience that blends the convenience of travel with the security of payments.

In rural India, Jan Dhan accounts are being integrated with the direct benefit transfers of government incentives, for over 30 crore beneficiaries. Over a billion transactions occur in India daily, through cash or a digital platform. Hitachi is transforming the ease with which these happen, to enable greater financial empowerment for all.

STATE-OF-THE-ART BANK OF INDIA

HPY has recently, in 2018, entered into an agreement to form a joint venture (JV) with India’s largest bank, State Bank of India for establishing a card acceptance and digital payment platform. The JV will provide various payment options to customers & merchants focusing on the rollout of a nationwide card acceptance infrastructure, Quick Response (QR) code acceptance, Unified Payment Interface, mass-transit sector & e-commerce business.

To learn more about the initiatives, please click here.

(This article has been sponsored by Hitachi)

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