BENGALURU: When Suhasini MC, 50, a housewife living in the suburb of JP Nagar, set out for the vegetable market on Tuesday, she carried her debit card for a change. To her surprise, she noticed a few vendors using point-of-sale (PoS) devices for small-value transactions. She bought vegetables and flowers worth Rs 150. Later in the day, she transferred her maid’s salary to her Jan Dhan account online. She paid by cash for all these transactions earlier. Not any more.
MM Chiniwar, Canara Bank’s general manager in charge of Bengaluru, has ordered 4,000 PoS devices to encourage traders to go cashless so that his bank’s 176 branches in the city don’t have to deal with piles of cash as before. In a city of about 12 million people, the bank has the largest base of 3.5 million customers. “Since our demand for PoS is huge and not being met by vendors, we want to promote UPI, mobile banking, debit or credit card use big time,” said Chiniwar.
Bhaktha Keshavachar, chief technology officer at Bengaluru-based fintech startup Ezetap, said he has not felt the need to visit a bank. “Most of my colleagues and I have not felt the urgent need to get cash since our city has many digital payment points. Even vegetable vendors and laundromats that were only cash-based have immediately switched to digital payments,” he said.
Ezetap, which makes point-of-sale (PoS) devices, says its heatmap has shown a jump in card-based transactions, of late, with Mumbai, NCR and Bengaluru seeing the highest number of transactions. Sameer Nigam, CEO of Flipkart-owned payments company PhonePe, said Bengaluru has faster adoption of technology, given the presence of tech startups here. “PhonePe is here, Freecharge is here, Razorpay and several others are based here. This is the place where we start our field studies and start solving problems,” Nigam said.
Bengaluru, the technology capital of India with a bustling software and startup ecosystem, has an estimated 1.5 million techies and BPO workers. The city has been the first port of call for technology-led businesses from Uber to Amazon, and a tech-savvy population of young professionals means that there is enormous pressure on government agencies and private businesses to keep upgrading.
“Within the city there are several hubs of innovation such as Koramangala, Sarjapur, Electronics City and others. In these ecosystems, even the local tea shops and cigarette vendors have been exposed to tech,” said Nigam. “The day demonetisation hit, we saw a surge in signage for digital payments and a large percentage of the small and medium businesses moving to digital payments.”
“Bengaluru is moving towards cashless economy, because everyone is trying to leverage technology to his or her benefit,” said Ramadas Kamath, executive vice-president at Infosys. “We have introduced smart chips in identity cards which our employees use across food courts and kiosks. The loading mechanism is so simple that employees don’t feel any inconvenience, at all,” he said.
Infosys cofounder Nandan Nilekani is happy that a tech solution that he built as chairman of Unique ID Authority is finding widespread use. “Infrastructure built over the past 7 years coming handy!,” he has tweeted referring to Aadhaar card. The business correspondents are doling out cash in villages using either Aadhaar card or Rupay-card enabled payment.
SnapBizz, a startup which offers cloud-based store management solutions to kirana stores, recently conducted a survey across 1,100 stores in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai, and saw that the decline in purchases by consumers post-demonetisation had hit Mumbai and Delhi more, with the two cities seeing a sharper decline in consumer purchase to the tune of 31% while Bengaluru saw a decline of 18%.
Credits ET CIO