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The progress of digital payment systems in India

The Reserve Bank of India released a report that benchmarks India’s payment systems. The report provides a comparative position of the payment system ecosystem in India relative to comparable payment systems and usage trends in other countries.

A press release said that this study is necessary to gauge India’s progress regarding payment systems and instruments in major countries.

The report analyses India’s payment systems in context with payment systems in a mix of advanced economies, Asian economies, and the BRICS nations. The analysis was attempted under 41 indicators covering 21 broad areas. Some include regulation, oversight, customer protection and grievance redressal, securities settlement and clearing systems, cross border personal remittances, and utility payments.

The study found that India has a strong regulatory system and robust large value and retail payment systems, which have contributed to the rapid growth in the volume of transactions in these systems. There has been a substantial increase in e-payments by the government and in digital infrastructure in terms of mobile networks.

The report, however, notes that India is required to take further efforts to bring down the volume of paper clearing and increase acceptance infrastructure to enhance digital payments.

The benchmarking was calculated using a range of indicators and the rating categories are:

  • Leader: ranked 1st or 2nd or 3rd
  • Strong: ranked in the top rungs of the countries other than the leaders (4th to 9th)
  • Moderate: ranked in the middle (10th to 15th)
  • Weak: ranked in the lowest rungs (16th to 21st)

Indicators where India ranked leader:

  • Regulation of costs of payment systems.
  • Features available in cheque instruments.
  • The number of debit cards issued.
  • The number of ATMs deployed across the country.
  • Per capita cash withdrawal at ATMs.
  • Share of credit transfers in payment systems.
  • Availability of alternate payment systems.
  • Share of e-money in payment systems.
  • C2G e-payments; B2G e-payments; G2B e-payments.
  • Oversight by the Central Bank.
  • Cross border personal remittance flows.

Indicators where India ranked strong:

  • Laws in place and scope of regulation.
  • Cash in circulation per capita.
  • The number of Point of Sale (PoS) terminals deployed across the country.
  • Volume and growth of credit transfers.
  • Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS).
  • Fast payment systems available in the country.
  • Volume and growth of e-money.
  • Mobile and broadband subscriptions.
  • Customer safety and authentication standards.

Indicators where India ranked moderate:

  • Cash in circulation as a percentage of GDP.
  • Overall payment systems transactions volume and growth.
  • The number of credit cards issued.
  • Debit and Credit Card usage at PoS terminals and online.
  • Presence of domestic card network.
  • Government e-payments in the country.
  • Regulation of payment aggregators.
  • Costs of cross border personal remittances.

Indicators where India ranked weak:

  • Rate of decline of cheques.
  • The ratio of cheque volume versus payment systems volume.
  • Share of debit and credit card payments in payment systems.
  • The number of people per PoS terminal.
  • Value of debit and credit card payments to cash in circulation.
  • The number of people per ATM; the ratio of ATM withdrawal versus cash in circulation.
  • Volume and year on year growth of direct debits; share of direct debits in payment systems.
  • Digital payment of utility bills; public mass transportation systems in the country.
  • Availability of channels and operators for cross border personal remittances.


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