PhonePe, the largest digital payments player in India, has launched a new PhonePe ATM feature, to allow the customers to withdraw cash through money transfer to merchants. As of now, the facility is limited to Delhi NCR region, and so far, seventy-five thousand merchants have signed for the service.
The Walmart backed UPI-based payments platform will expand in the other parts of the country. The facility is being rolled out in 300 cities across the country, with more than 5 Lakh shops being enrolled. The withdrawal amount is limited to 1,000 rupees per day as of now and will be increased once the initial run in successful.
The ATM penetration is very low in India, especially in tier-II and tier-III cities. Even among the metro cities, ATM penetration is very low. As per reports, India has the lowest ATM density among the BRICS countries. On the other hand, PhonePe has prepared an unparalleled infrastructure for cash transaction through UPI transfers.
The country has only 2 lakh ATMs while PhonePe alone has 95 lakh (9.5 million) merchants and 69 per cent of its total transactions originate in non-metro cities, where the ATM penetration is very, very low.
Cash is still a King in India having 72 per cent of total transactions, double of China. In rural areas and small cities, cash completely dominates the transaction ecosystem and only technology as sophisticated as UPI can destroy it.
“Compared to metros the density of ATMs is very less in tier-2 and tier-3 cities. We are creating the right type of financial inclusion, where people who have never seen an ATM, would now be able to withdraw the cash,” said Vivek Locheb, head of offline business development at PhonePe.
If the experiment of PhonePe succeeds, other digital payment players like Paytm, GooglePay, and Whatsapp Pay will venture in business.
Whatsapp launched its UPI based payments system a few days ago. The country has more than 15 crores UPI users with Google Pay alone accounting for 6.7 crore active users. PhonePe has 5.5 crore monthly active users, however, its volume of transactions is bigger than that of GooglePay.
Whatsapp, with 40 crore active users, is entering the market, with new sophisticated digital payments system. With Modi governments’ active support, India is set to revolutionize financial technology. UPI has already won global acclaim and many countries have adopted the system. Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, advised the countries including the United States to learn from India’s United Payments Interface (UPI).
The increasing number of UPI users will make the ATM industry irrelevant. And rural India, as well as the non-metro cities, are at the forefront of this digital payments revolution. The new PhonePe ATMs will bring down the transportation of money cost to zero.
“We are going way beyond payments and building connections between the consumers and our merchants. The value we are creating is that you as a consumer would be able to discover merchants (on PhonePe) and the merchants would be able to list themselves and build their visibility to all the PhonePe customers in the vicinity,” said Locheb.
According to Razorpay, there have been 442% year-on-year growth in 2019 in digital payments. The ATM industry is set to face ‘creative destruction’ by digital technology and rural India as well as the non-metro cities, where ATM penetration is very low, will benefit most from this.