Coronavirus Impact: Digital Payments on the Rise, Paytm Leads Growth

Fintech major Paytm on Tuesday said it has witnessed a massive surge in digital payments as more people work from home, avoid venturing out and touching cash to stop the spread of coronavirus.

“We have been witnessing 20 per cent growth in digital payments as compared to the regular days. Since February, the number of users visiting the Paytm app and the number of sessions per user has also increased,” a Paytm spokesperson told IANS in a statement.

“There has been a massive surge in repeat transactions for various use-cases like fuel stations, utility payments among others. Offline payments have grown by 12 per cent owing to more people preferring Paytm over cash,” the statement added.

Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das on Monday asked banks to encourage the use of digital payments.

While according to industry experts, several digital payments firms are witnessing a decline in transactions as the country goes into lockdown, Paytm has gained more traction in the last one month.

With a 16 million-strong merchant base, Paytm is seeing more businesses extensively accepting payments online.

The Noida headquartered digital payments firm is seeing more people using Paytm for food and grocery delivery, as well as other services, to avoid touching cash as much as possible.

Some merchant acquirers such as BharatPe and service providers like Pine Labs have seen a slump in transactions due to shops, malls, eateries remaining shut.

However, Paytm which recently launched “All in One” solutions helps offline merchants accept payments even remotely. This, according to industry insiders, is finding many takers among businesses as more merchants and users are coming on board for digital transactions.

“There has been a 15 per cent increase in incoming requests from offline merchants to partner with Paytm. We are seeing a trend that merchants are offering home deliveries in their neighbourhood and suggesting their customers to Paytm as they fear the bacterial load on the hands and cash,” a Paytm spokesperson said.

As the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus in India rises to 126, experts are emphasising on the usage of contactless payment options.

Currency notes are one of the most potent carriers of coronavirus and health departments and experts across India are asking people to avoid touching cash and use digital payments.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) earlier warned that coronavirus can survive on banknotes for several days and the risk of contagion through cash is manifold as it keeps changing hands.

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