internet trends

As India’s ATMs run dry, digital payment companies make a killing – again

The demonetisation period gains are back.

It’s a bit like November 2016 all over again for Indian digital payment companies.

With ATMs in several parts of the country running dry, their platforms are seeing a spike in transactions.

On April 19, Bengaluru-based PhonePe said it has seen a 20% increase in the value of peer-to-peer transactions on its app over the past few days. “What is noteworthy is that tier-2 and -3 cities have contributed to a disproportionately high number of transactions on our platform,” the payments app owned by e-tail major Flipkart said in an email statement.

Paytm, the country’s largest e-payments firm, has also witnessed “phenomenal growth” in both money transfers and QR-based payments (made by scanning barcodes) from its platform in recent days, chief operating officer Kiran Vasireddy told Quartz.

“We are noticing a positive uptake in person-to-merchant transactions from smaller shops and eateries along with a spike in more corporates and MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) opting for digital disbursements,” Bhavik Vasa, chief growth officer of Mumbai-headquartered ItzCash, said.

For several weeks now, ATMs in states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Manipur have been out of cash. The government has blamed “unusual demand” for this, while the RBI has cited “logistical issues” in cash supply.

This comes around 17 months after the e-payment companies’ first moment under the sun. On November 8, 2016, the Narendra Modi government demonetised two high-value currency notes abruptly. The move sucked out 86% of the currency in circulation by value, generating a windfall for e-wallets. Paytm, for instance, registered over five million new users in two weeks post-demonetisation; Mobikwik saw a 40% jump in app downloads in the same period.

However, as cash returned to the market, these companies lost steam. By November 2017, digital transactions had dropped to pre-demonetisation levels, both in terms of the number of transactions and value, according to Reserve Bank of India data.

Most recently, in February this year, the total value of digital transactions in India fell to Rs115 lakh crore ($1.75 trillion), down 12% from the previous month, according to RBI data. The number of such transactions also fell marginally from 1.12 billion in January to 1.09 billion in February.

This article first appeared on Quartz.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Can a colour encourage creativity and innovation?

The story behind the universally favoured colour - blue.

It was sought after by many artists. It was searched for in the skies and deep oceans. It was the colour blue. Found rarely as a pigment in nature, it was once more precious than gold. It was only after the discovery of a semi-precious rock, lapis lazuli, that Egyptians could extract this rare pigment.

For centuries, lapis lazuli was the only source of Ultramarine, a colour whose name translated to ‘beyond the sea’. The challenges associated with importing the stone made it exclusive to the Egyptian kingdom. The colour became commonly available only after the invention of a synthetic alternative known as ‘French Ultramarine’.

It’s no surprise that this rare colour that inspired artists in the 1900s, is still regarded as the as the colour of innovation in the 21st century. The story of discovery and creation of blue symbolizes attaining the unattainable.

It took scientists decades of trying to create the elusive ‘Blue Rose’. And the fascination with blue didn’t end there. When Sir John Herschel, the famous scientist and astronomer, tried to create copies of his notes; he discovered ‘Cyanotype’ or ‘Blueprints’, an invention that revolutionized architecture. The story of how a rugged, indigo fabric called ‘Denim’ became the choice for workmen in newly formed America and then a fashion sensation, is known to all. In each of these instances of breakthrough and innovation, the colour blue has had a significant influence.

In 2009, the University of British Columbia, conducted tests with 600 participants to see how cognitive performance varies when people see red or blue. While the red groups did better on recall and attention to detail, blue groups did better on tests requiring invention and imagination. The study proved that the colour blue boosts our ability to think creatively; reaffirming the notion that blue is the colour of innovation.

When we talk about innovation and exclusivity, the brand that takes us by surprise is NEXA. Since its inception, the brand has left no stone unturned to create excusive experiences for its audience. In the search for a colour that represents its spirit of innovation and communicates its determination to constantly evolve, NEXA created its own signature blue: NEXA Blue. The creation of a signature color was an endeavor to bring something exclusive and innovative to NEXA customers. This is the story of the creation, inspiration and passion behind NEXA:

Play

To know more about NEXA, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of NEXA and not by the Scroll editorial team.