In what can be seen as the surest sign of Indians adopting mobile-based digital payments over cash during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) at 1.49 billion transactions has recorded the highest volume in July for the second consecutive month.
The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)-operated channel had seen 1.34 billion transactions worth Rs 2.61 lakh crore processed in June. The value of transactions at Rs 2.90 lakh crore in July is also a record, the latest data released by NPCI on Saturday showed.
The ‘V-shaped’ rebound comes on the back of a steep fall that was seen in the months of March and April during the nationwide lockdown when the popular instant payment service had lost nearly 25% of transaction volumes from the pre-Covid-19 period.
Experts have attributed the increasing adoption of digital payments during the pandemic as a sign of the pandemic-induced payment behaviour change among consumers.
The rising count of digital payments comes amid aggressive campaigning by NPCI, banks, the Reserve Bank of India and the Indian government asking users to adopt ‘contactless’ payment modes.
Meanwhile,transaction volumes recorded on most retail payment channels operated by NPCI have either surpassed or inched back to pre-Covid-19 levels, the data showed.
Transactions recorded on the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC), which powers Fastag payments at highways, continued their recovery in July, the NPCI data showed.
A total of 87 million transactions worth Rs 1,623 crore were processed in June, up almost eight times from April when just 10 million transactions worth Rs 247 crore were processed.
The recovery in electronic toll volumes is significant as it indicates a return of road traffic and intercity commute. For comparison, February had seen a record 110 million Fastag transactions worth Rs 1,843 crore.
Similarly, the Bharat Bill Payment System has also seen a jump in transactions as customers are now increasingly getting comfortable paying their bills online.
Continuing the trend from June, BBPS too recorded its highest-ever 20.16 million transactions worth Rs 3,707 crore on its platform in July. This is nearly 25% more than 14.92 million transactions worth Rs 1,957 crore processed on the platform in February.
IMPS, which is used for instant bank-to-bank fund transfer between accounts, also saw a surge in volumes to 222 million transactions worth Rs 2.25 lakh crore in July, the data showed. Volumes in June stood at 199 million transactions worth Rs 2.06 lakh crore.