India’s leading digital payments platform PhonePe has said that they are in the process of enabling digitization for as many as 25 million small merchants across India. This will allow these merchants including Kirana Stores, access to the PhonePe for Business app, giving them the ability to use the completely digital payments process with vendors and customers. PhonePe confirms that they plan to complete this roll-out within a year, and believe this digitization push across more than 5500 talukas across India will help create more than 10000 jobs. This comes as the government of India continues to push for digital payments to reduce the reliance on cash for payments, and also is pushing forward with the digitization plans across the country.
On its part, PhonePe will offer the merchant partners a personalized store page on the PhonePe app. This will list everything including the products they sell, store timings, offers in place as well as home delivery options. The listing will allow PhonePe users to discover more stores near their location, and the store page will also have the option of contacting the store directly, either via the built-in chat functionality or even with a phone call. PhonePe app users may also be able to place any orders from this store page on the app and make the payments digitally. “Kiranas and merchants across small villages and towns are striving to progress and prosper. We are really excited to partner with them in this journey and take digital payments to the last mile of India across every village and town,” says Vivek Lohcheb, Vice President – Offline Business Development, PhonePe.
While speaking to the nation on August 15, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that as many as six lakh villages in India will be connected with the optical fiber network, within the next 1,000 days. This will bring broadband internet to villages that still potentially rely on spotty mobile network coverage to access digital services.
PhonePe is a leading digital payments platform in India, and currently has more than 230 million registered users. It is competing with digital payment platforms including Paytm, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, Mobikwik and Airtel Payments Bank, to name a few, in India. At this time, PhonePe offers a variety of services, including bill payments, utility payments, in-store payments, money transfer, paying for your credit card bills, and also a wider spectrum of financial services including investments such as Mutual Funds, gold savings as well as insurance.
In June this year, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant had said that India is pushing for as many as 1 billion digital transactions per day, from the current three billion transactions in a month. In a report earlier this month, RedSeer Consulting had said that India’s digital payments landscape is expected to be as large as Rs 7,092 trillion by the year 2025. In 2019-20, the digital payments market was pegged at around Rs 2,162 trillion, which means we are looking at a three folds increase in the next few years. At the same time, the Payments Council of India (PCI) and Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) say that India will contribute as much as 2.2 percent to the world’s digital payments market by the year 2023 with the value of digital transactions expected to be around $12.4 trillion globally by thee year 2025.
In July, UPI payments recorded an all-time high in transaction numbers—as many as 1.49 billion transactions were clocked for the month, according to data by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). These transactions were worth Rs 2.90 trillion. This was up from Rs 2.61 trillion recorded in June, and Rs 1.46 trillion recorded in the same period in 2019.
Even though there has been a big push towards digital payments in India, semi urban and rural areas still largely see cash transactions, particularly for kirana store purchases. The push that PhonePe is attempting with this digitization roll-out will also help smaller merchants get discovered and acquire new customers, something they may not have had the financial push for, otherwise. “This is also in line with our brand ethos of ‘Karte Ja. Badhte Ja’ which reflects the role played by PhonePe in India’s progress, helping bridge the digital divide while empowering merchant partners across Bharat,” adds Lohcheb. PhonePe as a payment option is already available at 11 million merchants across India.