The coronavirus outbreak may finally accomplish what India’s shock demonetization four years ago failed to achieve: Use of digital payments is soaring for everything from groceries, electricity bills and cab fares.
The value of transactions on the Unified Payments Interface, a platform created by India’s largest banks in 2016, reached an all-time high last month as people feared to handle banknotes amid the pandemic. Electronic fund transfers from banks, which had dropped in April as economic activity slowed almost to a halt, have also rebounded.
“People who have never paid a bill online are paying online, people who have never bought groceries online are buying online,” said Nityanand Sharma, chief executive officer of Get Simpl Technologies Pvt Ltd., which allows people to order groceries and food online and pay every two weeks. “What would have taken five years has happened in the last three months.”