60% of Indians made cashless payments during festive season

16 Nov 2021

The majority of Indians used digital payments more often than usual during the recent Diwali festive season, according to a new study conducted by YouGov and ACI Worldwide. Diwali, also known as Divali or Deepawali, is a major festival celebrated over five days in many parts of India by people of different faiths including many Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Muslims and some Buddhists. It is sometimes referred to as ‘the festival of lights.’ The research found that frequent usage - 2-3 times per week - of digital payments has increased from 57% last year. Meanwhile only 6% of respondents had no intention of using digital payments during the 2021 festive season, dropping from 9% last year. The report said that digital transactions continued to be the payment method of choice for festive season spending, with 60% of shoppers having used digital payments multiple times per week for festive season purchases. Some 41% of consumers opted for digital payments as their preferred payment method, ahead of cash (26%). Cashless payments were the favoured transaction method for 41% of all respondents, climbing to 50% in the 25-34 age group.
 
Government backs cashless
The Digital India programme is a flagship programme of the Government of India with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. “Faceless, Paperless, Cashless” is one of the professed roles of Digital India. As part of promoting cashless transactions and converting India into a less-cash society, various modes of digital payments are being encouraged. In addition, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) has launched a new scheme, ‘Digital Finance for Rural India: Creating Awareness and Access through Common Service Centres (CSCs),’ under Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (DISHA) with the aims of enabling the CSCs to become Digital Financial Hubs, by hosting awareness sessions on government policies and digital finance options available for rural citizens as well as enabling various mechanism of digital financial services.
 
Real-time payments
A recent report by The Economist Intelligence Unit researched the global cashless trend around the world and found that India is leading the real-time payments market, followed by China and South Korea. In terms of the mobile payment market, China leads instead, followed by India. “Whilst all digital payments rely on technology, not all of them are instantaneous like real-time payments. Real-time payments are increasingly popular, with a report recently showing that most Malaysians prefer real-time payments over others, losing only to cash payments,” reports TechWireAsia. Real-time payments (RTP) are digital payments that can be initiated and completed instantaneously or almost instantaneously.