Covid-19 Crisis Continues To Give Digital Payments A Boost
Pedestrians use smartphones at the Nehru Place IT Market in New Delhi. (Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg)  

Covid-19 Crisis Continues To Give Digital Payments A Boost

Transactions on digital payment platforms continued to rise in July with several platforms seeing record high transactions.

Data released by the National Payments Corporation of India on Saturday via its official Twitter account showed increased adoption of digital payments as restrictions on movement and physical distancing measures remained in place in a number of states.

UPI Transaction Rise Further

Transactions on the Unified Payments Interface rose 11% to Rs 2.90 lakh crore in July from Rs 2.61 lakh crore in June. UPI transactions have nearly doubled from Rs 1.46 lakh crore in July 2019.

There were 149 crore transactions conducted via UPI in July 2020 compared to 134 crore in the month before, according to NPCI data.

IMPS Transactions Also At A High

Transactions on the Immediate Payment Service platform fell to a historic low in May this year and have been slowly rebounding since then. They are now at an all-time high. The platform is used for high-value payment transactions.

IMPS transactions stood at Rs 2.25 lakh crore in July this year, growing by 9% over the previous month. Transactions have grown by 24% over last year, when they were at Rs 1.82 lakh crore in July 2019.

Bharat Bill Payments Double

Though transactions on the Bharat Bill Payments System fell by 70% between March and April this year, with more billers and companies signing up to the platform its adoption has risen.

There are a total of 748 live bill payment companies on the platform now, rising from 245 in June and 216 in May this year.

Transactions on BBPS are up 113% year-on-year and hit Rs 3,703 crore in July 2020.

AEPS Transactions Dip

After growing consitently over the last three months, transactions on the Aadhaar-Enabled Payments System dipped 11% to Rs 17,729 crore in July from Rs 19,981 crore in the previous month.

AEPS transactions have grown by 83% over the last year from Rs 9,685 crore in July 2019, according to NPCI data.

AEPS is a primary channel through which the the government has provided cash transfers under its Covid-19 relief package.

Under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package around 42 crore poor people received financial assistance of Rs 53,248 crore, according to June 3 government statement. The cash transfers ended in June.

FASTag Grows But Still Below Peak

On an annual basis, FASTag or National Electronic Toll Collection platform, transactions have risen 166% to Rs 1,623 crore in July 2020 from just Rs 608 crore in June 2019.

FASTag is a payments platform used to process payments for vehicles passing through toll plazas across highways.

Payments on the platform rose 7% to over 8.6 crore transactions worth Rs 1,623 crore in July compared to nearly 8.2 crore transactions worth Rs 1,512 crore in the previous month. However, overall FASTag transactions remain around 12% below the peak of Rs 1,841 crore in February this year.

While restrictions on movements have been substantially eased, the number of Covid-19 related cases continue to rise, leading to mobility remaining below normal.

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