Why digital payments would matter more in the new normal

Soumiya Awasthi : Default

By Soumiya Awasthi | July 10, 2020

The business world has been impacted majorly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The biggest impact is in the fall of discretionary spending and therefore demand revival has emerged as a major concern now. In fact, as per a recent McKinsey survey of consumers in India, China, and Indonesia, discretionary spending in retail categories plummeted by as much as 90 percent at the peak of COVID-19 related lockdowns.1

During the lockdown, economic activities across the world saw a near-standstill, but now that economy is gradually resuming, there has been a considerable acceleration in economic activity. An interesting insight fast-emerging is the rising consumer reliance on digital payments and more specifically contactless modes of digital payments for a possible fear of contracting Coronavirus. In India, at 13.4 billion, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) recorded its highest ever monthly transactions2. Furthermore, 199 million transactions worth INR 2.06 lakhs were done through IMPS in the month of June3.

The COVID-19 pandemic can be a gamer changer when it comes to digital payments adoption in the country. During the crisis, the use of digital payments has clearly increased, a lot of which can be credited to a shift in the consumer behaviour.

The use of digital payments at the point of sale can help in limiting contact-based transactions such as the use of cash and allow businesses to operate with minimum risk.

Owing to the current situation, most businesses have quickly adapted to the changing environment and have upgraded their payment infrastructure at the point of sale to meet the needs of the consumers. As a pioneering payments player with over two decades of rich experience, at Pine Labs we adapted quickly to the changing world around us and delivered solutions that matter to merchants and meet the needs of the day. Our ePOS product, introduced during lockdown 1.0 was aimed at assisting merchants engaged in providing essential services accept payments quickly by converting their Android smartphone into a payment acceptance device. Another product that helps merchants in accepting contactless modes of payment is Plutus QR, a quick scan and pay solution using a static QR code.

Benefits of opting for digital payments:

#1. Convenience:

Customers are always looking for convenience while making payments. With digital payments on a rise, customers need not visit ATMs for cash and there is no requirement of being physically present when completing a transaction as well. Customers can choose to pay anytime, anywhere, and even for friends/family. In the new normal, this convenience is certainly strive for. Providing such convenience to customers can help merchants grow their business.

#2. Lower risk:

Digital payments are safe as they are processed through secure payment gateways. If you are willing to offer a safe transaction experience to your customers and willing to know about the features of a robust online payment gateway, click here.

#3. Easily trackable:

Every transaction is tracked and maintained making the process transparent. When required, the transactions can be tracked easily. This can help merchants in reconciliation of their accounts and for purposes like GST compliance.

#4. Avail cashbacks/reward points:

Transacting through digital modes can offer customers the chance to avail cashbacks or rewards points. Retailers can retain their loyal customers by offering them Loyalty Solutions.

#5. Acceptance of multiple modes of payments:

Retailers need not worry about returning change to their customers when using digital payments.

The post COVID-19 world is fast-evolving and driving consumer behavior, be it their spending behaviour or growing preference of digital and contactless payments. The leaders and laggards of the future will depend on how fast businesses are able to adapt to these changes. While this crisis has been extremely challenging in all aspects, it has provided the much-needed impetus to digital payments in the country.

1 Source: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/retail/our-insights/an-early-view-of-post-covid-19-discretionary-spending-in-asia

2 and 3 Source: At 1.34 billion, UPI transactions in June beat February's

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